The Hindu

Allow Navalny’s evacuation to Germany, wife appeals to Putin

Aides believe the Russian Opposition leader was poisoned


The wife of the hospitalis­ed Russian Opposition leader Alexei Navalny made a direct appeal to President Vladimir Putin on Friday to allow her husband to be evacuated to Germany, as Russian doctors denied he had been poisoned.

Mr. Navalny, 44, a lawyer and anti-corruption campaigner who is among Mr. Putin’s fiercest critics, was in a coma in intensive care in the Siberian city of Omsk after he lost consciousn­ess while on a flight and his plane made an emergency landing on Thursday.

Aides say they believe he was poisoned and that something was put in his tea at an airport cafe.

Mr. Navalny’s supporters organised an air ambulance with specialist­s from a German clinic that arrived at Omsk airport but Russian doctors said his condition was too “unstable” to move him. His wife Yulia Navalnaya posted on Mr. Navalny’s Twitter account a letter addressed to Mr. Putin, saying: “I officially apply to you with a demand for permission to take Alexei Navalny to Germany.” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said there were “no obstacles” to evacuating Mr. Navalny and this was “purely a medical decision”.

Russian doctors treating Mr. Navalny said tests had shown no trace of poison and suggested he lost consciousn­ess due to low blood sugar. “So far no poison has been identified in the blood and urine,” Anatoly Kalinichen­ko, the deputy head doctor of the hospital, told journalist­s in Omsk. “We do not believe that the patient suffered poisoning,” he said. Chief doctor Alexander Murakhovsk­y said the preliminar­y diagnosis was a “metabolic disorder”.

This could have caused a “sharp drop in blood sugar in the plane that led to loss of consciousn­ess,” he said.

 ?? AP ■ ?? Alexei Navalny’s wife Yulia in Omsk, Russia, on Friday.
AP ■ Alexei Navalny’s wife Yulia in Omsk, Russia, on Friday.

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