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

U.S. charges Russian intelligence officers for cyberattacks beginning in 2015

Putin at an event celebrating the Russian military. Photo: Alexei Druzhinin\TASS via Getty Images

A federal grand jury has returned a 7-count indictment against six Russian military intelligence officers for major hacking operations targeting foreign elections, the Olympics and computer systems worldwide that resulted in nearly $1 billion in losses, the Justice Department announced Monday.

The big picture: The officers are members of the same GRU unit indicted by special counsel Robert Mueller for interference in the 2016 election. It's unlikely that they will ever face trial in the U.S.

Facebook suspends account of alleged Russian agent with ties to Giuliani

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Facebook has suspended the account of Ukrainian lawmaker Andrii Derkach, an associate of Rudy Giuliani accused by the U.S. of being "an active Russian agent for over a decade," for election interference activity.

Why it matters: The U.S. Treasury Department sanctioned Derkach in September for "alleged efforts to interfere in the U.S. presidential election," including by releasing edited audio tapes and other unsubstantiated claims to denigrate Joe Biden and other officials.

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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

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