Sunday 9/27/20

Poisoned dissident Navalny to return to Russia

Separate tests in France, Germany and Sweden have concluded that he was poisoned with a form of Novichok. European leaders have demanded an explanation from the Kremlin, which denies any involvement.
(L-r) Daria Navalny, her brother Zahar, her father Aleksei Navalny and his wife Julia make a selfie at the sickbed. Photo: -/Daria Navalny Instagram.
(L-r) Daria Navalny, her brother Zahar, her father Aleksei Navalny and his wife Julia make a selfie at the sickbed. Photo: -/Daria Navalny Instagram.

Russian dissident Alexei Navalny, currently being treated at a Berlin hospital for poisoning with the chemical weapon Novichok, will return to Russia, his spokesperson said on Tuesday.

"All morning journalists have been writing to me and asking whether it is true that Alexei plans to return to Russia," spokesperson Kira Yarmysh said in a statement on Twitter.

"It seems weird to me that someone would think otherwise. Once again I confirm to everyone: No other options have ever been considered," Yarmysh said.

Navalny greeted the public earlier on Tuesday with his first post on a social network since he was near-fatally poisoned last month.

"Hi, this is Navalny. I miss you. Still I can do almost nothing, but yesterday I was able to breathe on my own for the whole day," Navalny said in a post on his Instagram account, which has 1.7 million followers.

Navalny had been on a ventilator system for weeks after being poisoned with a form of the Soviet-developed nerve agent Novichok while on a campaign trip in Siberia. He is being treated at Berlin's Charite hospital.

In the photo, Navalny was sitting up in his hospital bed next to his wife, Yulia, her face beaming with a broad smile. Navalny, 44, was woken from his medically induced coma last week.

Hospitalized in Berlin

Navalny had fallen ill on a flight from the Russian city of Tomsk en route to Moscow on August 20. The airliner made an emergency landing, and he was hospitalized in the Russian city of Omsk. Two days later he was medically evacuated to Berlin.

Separate tests in France, Germany and Sweden have concluded that he was poisoned with a form of Novichok. European leaders have demanded an explanation from the Kremlin, which denies any involvement.

Russia has also denied finding any hard evidence that Navalny was poisoned.

Navalny had been in Tomsk to support local political opposition efforts ahead of elections that were held this past weekend.

Two of Navalny's close allies, Ksenia Fadeyeva and Andrei Fateyev, were elected to the Tomsk city legislature, and the dominant United Russia party lost its majority there.

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