Navalny was poisoned, German hospital says after tests
Long-time putin critic and primary opposition leader Alexei Navalny remains in a coma while being treated in the Charite hospital in Berlin, Germany. The German government now says it is fairly certain Navalny was poisoned, and that he needs protection while in hospital.
According to the hospital, Navalny was suffering from "intoxication by a substance from the group of cholinesterase inhibitors."
“The suspicion is not that Navalny poisoned himself, but that someone poisoned him,” German government spokesperson Steffen Seibert told the press.
In a joint statement by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the foreign ministry, Germany called for an investigation into the act of poisoning the man considered Vladimir Putin’s primary political opponent. “According to the medical team at the Charite [hospital], the clinical findings point to poisoning of Alexey Navalny. Given the prominent role of Mr. Navalny in the political opposition in Russia, local authorities are now urgently called upon to clear up this crime to the last detail -- and to do so in full transparency,” the statement read, adding that those responsible must be identified and held accountable. "We hope that Mr. Navalny can recover fully. Our good wishes also extend to his family, which is undergoing a severe test."
Navalny remains in an artifical coma. While his state of health is serious, “there is currently no acute danger to his life,” the hospital said in a statement.
Siberian doctors in Omsk who initially treated Navalny said their tests showed no traces of poison. The specific poison used on Navalny has not yet been identified.
Navalny is believed to have ingested the poison from a cup of black tea he had in the Tomsk airport, while flying back to Moscow. He became severely unwell while on the flight after it had taken off, crying out in pain after going to the on-board toilet. He had not taken anything else besides the tea.
The plane made an emergency landing and Navalny was taken to a local hospital and placed on ventilator support in the intensive care unit. After a tussle with authorities, he was flown to Germany to receive treatment.