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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.

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.

Go deeper

Updated Apr 18, 2019 - Politics & Policy

What the Mueller report tells us about Trump and Russia

President Trump at the Helsinki summit with Vladimir Putin. Photo: Chris McGrath/Getty Images

The first part of special counsel Robert Mueller's redacted report addresses Russian interference in the 2016 election and any role the Trump campaign may have played in those efforts.

What to know: Mueller defines election interference as comprising of 2 sets of efforts: The social media disinformation campaign carried out by a Russian troll farm known as the Internet Research Agency, and the hacking and dissemination of Democratic emails by Russian intelligence officers. He narrowly defines "coordination" as an "agreement—tacit or express—between the Trump Campaign and the Russian government on election interference."

This post is breaking news and will be updated.

Aug 22, 2019 - World

Russian interference, 2020

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Americans are at each other's throats. Politically, socially and culturally, we suspect each other's motives and plain sanity. So certain are we of the other's intent to do the nation harm, some of us have joined political gangs and assaulted one another, resulting in at least 1 death.

Which is to say: Americans have played into Russian President Vladimir Putin's hands — again. It is assumed he can attack next year's elections if he so chooses, but since no outsider knows exactly how, what comes next is one of the great underlying mystery-dramas of the 2020 election campaign.

Off the Rails

Episode 5: The secret CIA plan

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer, Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Zach Gibson/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. This Axios series takes you inside the collapse of a president.

Episode 5: Trump vs. Gina — The president becomes increasingly rash and devises a plan to tamper with the nation's intelligence command.

In his final weeks in office, after losing the election to Joe Biden, President Donald Trump embarked on a vengeful exit strategy that included a hasty and ill-thought-out plan to jam up CIA Director Gina Haspel by firing her top deputy and replacing him with a protege of Republican Congressman Devin Nunes.