The Berlin hospital treating the seriously ill Russian opposition leader, Alexei Navalny, says he appears to have been poisoned. The Charité hospital released a statement saying “clinical evidence suggests an intoxication through a substance belonging to the group of cholinesterase inhibitors”.
His condition was “serious but not life-threatening” the statement said. He fell ill on an internal flight in Russia on Thursday. Video appeared to show Mr Navalny, a dogged critic of the Kremlin, writhing in agony on the flight from Tomsk in Siberia to Moscow. His supporters suspect poison was placed in a cup of tea he drank at the airport in Tomsk.
Mr Navalny’s flight made an emergency landing in Omsk where he was first treated. On Friday, doctors there at first said he was too ill to be moved but then allowed him to board a medical evacuation flight, which landed in Berlin on Saturday morning.
Russian doctors had earlier insisted that no poison had been found in his body and suggested a metabolic disorder caused by low blood sugar. But Russian health officials then indicated that traces of an industrial chemical had been found on his skin and hair.