An air ambulance carrying Alexei Navalny, a fierce critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, arrived in Germany on Saturday morning for treatment for suspected poisoning, according to flight tracking data and supporters of the ill dissident.
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Navalny's spokeswoman and a representative of the NGO that arranged the flight confirmed that the plane had landed. “Navalny is in Berlin,” Jaka Bizilj, of the German organisation Cinema For Peace, told The Associated Press.
Navalny, a 44-year-old politician and corruption investigator who is one of Russian President Vladimir Putins fiercest critics, was admitted to an intensive care unit in Omsk on Thursday. His supporters believe that tea he drank was laced with poison — and that the Kremlin is behind both his illness and the delay in transferring him to a top German hospital.
When German specialists first arrived on a plane equipped with advanced medical equipment Friday morning at his familys behest, Navalnys physicians in Omsk said he was too unstable to move.
Alexei Navalny, Putin's foremost internal critic
Navalnys supporters denounced that as a ploy by authorities to stall until any poison in his system would no longer be traceable. The Omsk medical team relented only after a charity that had organized the medevac plane revealed that the German doctors examined the politician and said he was fit to be transported.
Deputy chief doctor of the Omsk hospital Anatoly Kalinichenko then told reporters that Navalnys condition had stabilized and that physicians “didnt mind” transferring the politician, given that his relatives were willing “to take on the risks.”
The Kremlin denied resistance to the transfer was political, with spokesman Dmitry Peskov saying that it was purely a medical decision. However, the reversal came as international pressure on Russias leadership mounted.
It would not be the first time a prominent, outspoken Russian was targeted in such a way — or the first time the Kremlin was accused of being behind it.
Russia expert 'firmly believes it was a poisoning'
Macron, Merkel offer help
On Thursday, leaders of France and Germany said the two countries were ready to offer Navalny and his family any and all assistance and insisted on an investigation into what happened. On Friday, European Union spokeswoman Nabila Massrali added that the bloc was urging Russian authorities to allow him to be taken abroad.
The most prominent member of Russias opposition, Navalny campaigned to challenge Putin in the 2018 presidential election but was barred from running. Since then, he has been promoting opposition candidates in regional elections, challenging members of the ruling party, United Russia.
His Foundation for Fighting Corruption has been exposing graft among government officials, including some at the highest level. But he had to shut the foundation last month after a financially devastating lawsuit from a businessman with close ties to the Kremlin.
Navalny fell ill on a flight back to Moscow from Siberia on Thursday and was taken to the hospital after the plane made an emergency landing. His team made arrangements to transfer him to Charité, a clinic in Berlin that has a history of treating famous foreign leaders and dissidents.
Dr. Yaroslav Ashikhmin, Navalnys physician in Moscow, told The Associated Press that being on a plane with specialized equipment, including a ventilator and a machine that can do the work of the heart and lungs, “can be even safer than staying in a hospital in Omsk.”
Yarmysh posted pictures of what she said was a bathroom inside the hospital that showed squalid conditions, including walls with paint peeling off, rusting pipes, and a dirty floor and walls.
While his supporters and family members continue to insist that Navalny was poisoned, doctors in Omsk denied that and put forth another theory.
The hospitals chief doctor, Alexander Murakhovsky, said in a video published by Omsk news outlet NGS55 that a metabolic disorder wasRead More – Source