Ambassador John Herbst represented the United States in Ukraine from 2003 to 2006. His career continued both in the public and commercial sectors after he left the government. He currently works as the senior director of the Eurasia Center at the Atlantic Council, where he is a vocal opponent of the threat Russia presents to the world. It has been suggested in a recent investigation that he may have been poisoned months before Russia invaded Ukraine.
After a story on the possible poisoning of Herbst appeared on the Russian news outlet Agentstvo on May 16, the Atlantic Council issued a statement. The research group reported the former ambassador’s health decline in April of that year. The report states that he “experienced symptoms that could have been consistent with poisoning.” There were increased quantities of unknown chemicals in his blood, according to medical tests. Even after treating his symptoms, doctors were unable to confirm whether or not he had been poisoned.
Blood samples were taken from Herbst by law police, however, the laboratory results came back negative for toxins. The president of the Atlantic Council, Frederick Kempe, has said that the council contacted the police right after but decided not to go public with the event due to the findings of the tests.
— John Herbst (@JohnEdHerbst) May 16, 2023
According to the Agentstvo report, a group of criminals with ties to Russia broke into the homes of Herbst and at least three other individuals and poisoned them.
Russia has been accused of assaulting the opposition in this way before. Longtime Putin opponent Alexei Navalny was poisoned in 2020 using a Soviet-era nerve toxin called Novichok. The 2018 attack on Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the United Kingdom allegedly employed the same chemical.
Natalia Arno, a Russian activist, recently claimed on Facebook that she had been poisoned while visiting Europe from the United States. The message suggests she may have been exposed to a nerve agent, but she claims to be recovering. There is no evidence that this actually occurred.