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Navalny in 2019. Photo: Dimitar Dilkoff/AFP via Getty Images

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was probably poisoned but is not currently in danger of dying, according to doctors at the Berlin hospital where he remains in an induced coma, per AP.

Why it matters: Navalny is the best-known critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, and several other prominent government critics have been poisoned in recent years.

  • The Berlin hospital said only that doctors found "cholinesterase inhibitors" in his system — a wide categorization that could encompass substances ranging from household insecticides to VX nerve gas.

What they're saying: "In view of Mr. Navalny’s major role in Russia’s political opposition, the country’s authorities are urgently called upon to fully investigate this act as a matter of urgency — and to do so in a completely transparent way," German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said in a joint statement.

  • "Those responsible must be identified and brought to justice."

The backdrop: Navalny became seriously ill shortly after boarding a flight last Thursday to Moscow from Siberia, where he met with opposition politicians.

  • An aide traveling with him alleged that poison was added to tea he ordered at the airport. The plane made an emergency landing in Omsk, Siberia.
  • Police quickly assembled at the hospital — though authorities said they were not investigating a possible crime — and doctors said they found no signs of poison in his system.
  • After authorities initially refused to allow him to travel abroad for treatment, Navalny was flown to Germany.

Go deeper

Sep 18, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Biden's hardline Russia reset

Photo Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Getty Images photos: Mark Reinstein

When he talks about Russia, Joe Biden has sounded like Ronald Reagan all summer, setting up a potential Day 1 confrontation with Russian President Vladimir Putin if Biden were to win.

Why it matters: Biden has promised a forceful response against Russia for both election interference and alleged bounty payments to target American troops in Afghanistan. But being tougher than President Trump could be the easy part. The risk is overdoing it and making diplomacy impossible.

Updated 1 hour ago - Health

Texas to end all coronavirus restrictions

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott speaking at the White House in December 2020. Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Texas will end its coronavirus restrictions next week with an upcoming executive order, Gov. Greg Abbott (R) announced Tuesday during a press conference in Lubbock.

Why it matters: After Abbott signs the new order, which rescinds previous orders, all businesses can open to 100% capacity and the statewide mask mandate will be over, though large parts of the state will remain under mask local ordinances.

Senate confirms Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo as commerce secretary

Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo (D). Photo: David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

The Senate voted 84-15 on Tuesday to confirm Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo to lead the Commerce Department.

Why it matters: The agency promotes U.S. industry, oversees the Census Bureau, plays a key role in the government's study of climate change through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and evaluates emerging technology through the National Institute of Standards and Technology.