Putin opponent leaves hospital after poisoning
BERLIN — Alexei Navalny, Russia’s most prominent opposition leader, has been released from a hospital in Germany and could make a full recovery from poisoning with a highly toxic nerve agent, doctors said Wednesday, as European leaders wrestled over a response to Moscow.
“Based on the patient’s progress and current condition, the treating physicians believe that complete recovery is possible,” the Charité hospital said in a statement released Wednesday. “However, it remains too early to gauge the potential longterm effects of his severe poisoning.”
Neither the doctors nor Navalny, 44, who has returned to communicating with his supporters through his Instagram account in recent days, gave any indication of where he would go after his release. But a senior German security official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said he would remain under protection in Berlin for rehabilitation.
Navalny has said that he intends to return to Russia once he has made a full recovery. He arrived at the hospital Aug. 22 after being evacuated by air ambulance from the Siberian city of Omsk, where he had been receiving treatment after collapsing Aug. 20 while aboard a domestic flight to Moscow.
Russia has maintained that it played no role in the poisoning of Navalny, although he would not be the first
Kremlin enemy to be attacked with a class of Novichok, a Sovietdesigned chemical weapon.
Given the substance used, German authorities and others say there is no doubt that the Russian government was behind the poisoning.
Once Navalny arrived in Berlin, doctors at the Charité hospital placed him in a medically induced coma in the intensive care ward, where he spent 24 days, while also under constant police protection.
Suspecting that their patient was suffering from an agent more complex than what they could detect, they sent samples to their colleagues at the Military Institute for Pharmacology and Toxicology in Munich, which found traces of a nerve agent from the Novichok family in Navalny’s blood and urine.
It was also found on a water bottle that the opposition leader’s team brought to Germany from his hotel room, leading them to believe that he was poisoned there, not at the airport as had originally been suspected.
Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny sits on a bench in Berlin after being discharged from a hospital where he spent 24 days recovering from poisoning with a highly toxic nerve agent.