Putin critic Alexei Navalny says he's slowly recovering
Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny said he's recovering at a German hospital from a suspected nerve agent poisoning and slowly regaining his verbal and physical capabilities, in an Instagram post on Saturday, according to AP.
The state of play: Navalny, an anti-corruption lawyer and an open critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, fell ill on a flight to Moscow in August and was transferred to Germany for treatment.
- German specialist labs confirmed he was poisoned with Novichok, the same type of Soviet-era nerve agent that Britain said was used on a former Russian spy and his daughter in England in 2018.
- Navalny was placed under a medically induced coma and treated with an antidote. Doctors took him out of the coma in early September.
What they're saying: Navalny said after being brought out of the coma, he was confused and couldn’t respond to a doctor’s questions.
- “Although I understood in general what the doctor wanted, I did not understand where to get the words. In what part of the head do they appear in?” Navalny wrote in the post, according to AP. “I also did not know how to express my despair and, therefore, simply kept silent.”
- “Now I’m a guy whose legs are shaking when he walks up the stairs, but he thinks: ‘Oh, this is a staircase! They go up it. Perhaps we should look for an elevator,’” Navalny said. "And before, I would have just stood there and stared.”
The big picture: Russia has denied that any crime took place, though Novichok is a chemical typically associated with Russian security services. Germany has called on the Russian government to explain its role in the poisoning.
- The United States joined other world governments earlier in September in condemning Navalny's apparent poisoning, calling on the Russian government to conduct an investigation into the matter.
Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov accused Navalny’s colleagues of hindering a Russian investigation by removing items from Navalny’s hotel room in the Siberian city of Tomsk, including a water bottle they claim held traces of the nerve agent, according to AP.
- Navalny’s colleagues said they removed the bottle and other items from the hotel room and brought them to Germany because they don't trust the Russian government to conduct a proper investigation.