Krem­lin critic Navalny ap­pears in pub­lic

The Pak Banker - - FRONT PAGE - -REUTERS

BER­LIN: Krem­lin critic Alexei Navalny made his first pub­lic ap­pear­ance on Wed­nes­day af­ter be­ing dis­charged from a Ber­lin hos­pi­tal where Ger­many said he was be­ing treated for poi­son­ing by a po­ten­tially deadly nerve agent. Navalny was flown from Rus­sia to Ber­lin last month af­ter fall­ing ill on a do­mes­tic flight in Siberia.

The West has de­manded an ex­pla­na­tion from the Krem­lin, which has de­nied any in­volve­ment in the in­ci­dent and said it has yet to see ev­i­dence of a crime. A ca­su­al­ly­dressed and tired-look­ing Navalny posted a pic­ture of him­self on a park bench on In­sta­gram on Wed­nes­day af­ter the hos­pi­tal treat­ing him an­nounced he had been dis­charged.

The 44-year-old op­po­si­tion politi­cian said he planned to have phys­io­ther­apy and might fol­low treat­ment at a re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion cen­tre to re­gain his mo­tor skills, in­clud­ing the full use of his left hand. "Af­ter 32 days in the hos­pi­tal, doc­tors de­cided that fur­ther re­cov­ery does not re­quire in-pa­tient care, but a nor­mal life. Walk­ing, spend­ing time with my fam­ily. Im­mers­ing my­self in a daily rou­tine," he wrote.

"My plans are so far sim­ple: (go to) the phys­io­ther­a­pist ev­ery day. Pos­si­bly a re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion cen­tre. Stand on one leg. Re­gain­ing com­plete con­trol over my fin­gers. Main­tain my bal­ance." He thanked doc­tors at Ber­lin's Charite hos­pi­tal for the treat­ment he had re­ceived. His al­lies have said he plans to re­turn to Rus­sia one day, but Navalny made no ref­er­ence to such plans on Wed­nes­day.

The Ger­man gov­ern­ment says tests in Ger­many, France and Swe­den have de­ter­mined he was poi­soned with a Novi­chok nerve agent. The Krem­lin said on Wed­nes­day that Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin's en­tourage did not pos­sess ac­cess to such sub­stances. Charite hos­pi­tal said Navalny's con­di­tion had im­proved suf­fi­ciently for him to be dis­charged from acute in­pa­tient care.

"Based on the pa­tient's progress and cur­rent con­di­tion, the treat­ing physi­cians be­lieve that com­plete re­cov­ery is pos­si­ble. How­ever, it re­mains too early to gauge the po­ten­tial long-term ef­fects of his se­vere poi­son­ing," it said.

Navalny re­ceived treat­ment at the hos­pi­tal for 32 days, of which 24 days were spent in in­ten­sive care, it said. Krem­lin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Rus­sian au­thor­i­ties were pleased Navalny was re­cov­er­ing and said he was wel­come back in Rus­sia just like any other cit­i­zen.

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