Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny is in intensive care after a suspected poisoning, his spokeswoman Kira Yarmysh said in a series of tweets on Thursday.
Navalny, 44, started feeling sick while on a return flight to Moscow from the Siberian city of Tomsk, Yarmish explained. The spokeswoman who was flying with him told the independent Echo Moskvy radio station that he started sweating and asked her to keep talking to him so that he can concentrate on her voice. Then he went to the bathroom and lost consciousness.
After an emergency landing in the city of Omsk, 1,367 miles ( 2,200 kilometers) from Moscow, the politician was taken to the local hospital in ”a grave condition.”
Unconfirmed videos on social media appeared to show paramedics arriving inside the plan, and someone is heard moaning loudly. Other videos show a man lying motionless while being wheeled into an ambulance at the airport.
Before boarding the plane, Navalny was filmed drinking black tea at the airport cafe. His team assumes he was poisoned with something mixed into the tea. He did not consume anything else in the morning. Doctors say the toxin was absorbed faster through the hot liquid, his spokeswoman tweeted.
Russian doctors gave unclear information on his condition, saying that he was stable, but his life was still at risk. Yarmish noted that he had not been diagnosed yet, adding that the family is concerned about his safety in the hospital.
She dismissed suggestions from unnamed Russian government officials that Navalny had suffered food poisoning as ”complete nonsense.”
Anatoliy Kalinichenko, the deputy chief doctor of the hospital, told reporters that the medical team is considering a number of diagnoses, including poisoning, but refused to give more details, citing a law preventing doctors from revealing private information about patients.
Russian state news agency TASS reported that police were not considering deliberate poisoning, citing an unnamed internal source who said that it was possible that he drank or consumed something himself before. The Kremlin said it wished Mr. Navalny a ”speedy recovery.”
Alexey Navalny is the most vocal opponent of Russian President Vladimir Putin. His Foundation for Fighting Corruption has been working to expose unlawful activities among government officials, including those close to Putin.
In 2018 presidential election, Navalny campaigned to challenge Putin but he was barred from running. Since then, he is setting up a network of campaign officials across the country to put forward opposition candidates in regional elections.
The German human rights group Cinema For Peace Foundation confirmed that Navalny is to be brought to Berlin for treatment. In the early hours of Friday local time, a plane left Nuremberg for Omsk.
What do you think? Is Navalny poisoned?