HOSPITAL: RUSSIA’S NAVALNY OUT OF COMA, IS RESPONSIVE
BERLIN — Poisoned Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s condition has improved, allowing doctors to take him out of an induced coma, the German hospital treating him said Monday.
Navalny, a fierce, high-profile critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, was flown to Germany last month after falling ill on Aug. 20 on a domestic flight in Russia. German chemical weapons experts say tests show the 44-year-old was poisoned with a Soviet-era nerve agent, prompting the German government last week to demand that Russia investigate the case.
“The patient has been removed from his medically induced coma and is being weaned off mechanical ventilation,” Berlin’s Charite hospital said in a statement. “He is responding to verbal stimuli. It remains too early to gauge the potential long-term effects of his severe poisoning.”
It added that the decision to publicly release details of his condition was made in consultation with Navalny’s wife.
Navalny had been in an induced coma in the Berlin hospital since he was flown to Germany on Aug. 22 for treatment.
News of his gradual recovery came as German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s office indicated that she might be willing to rethink the fate of a controversial GermanRussian gas pipeline project — a sign of Berlin’s growing frustration over Moscow’s stonewalling about the Navalny case.
German authorities said last week that tests showed “proof without doubt” that Navalny was poisoned with a chemical nerve agent from the Novichok group. British authorities identified the Soviet-era Novichok as the poison used on former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in England in 2018.
Many countries joined Germany in calling for a full investigation after the revelation, with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson last week calling the use of a chemical weapon “outrageous.” White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said that the poisoning was “completely reprehensible” and that the U.S. was “working with our allies and the international community to hold those in Russia accountable.”
On Monday, British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab summoned Russia’s ambassador to register his “deep concern about the poisoning,” he said on Twitter.
“It’s completely unacceptable that a banned chemical weapon has been used and Russia must hold a full, transparent investigation,” Raab said.
Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, a fierce critic of Vladimir Putin’s, was “without doubt” poisoned, German authorities have said.