Daily US Times: Alexei Navalny, The acutely ill Russian opposition leader, has arrived in Germany from Siberia for treatment.
He is in a coma after drinking what his supporters suspect was poisoned tea in an airport cafe. Supporters accuse the authorities of trying to conceal a crime.
Doctors treating Mr Navalny in Omsk had insisted on Friday that he was too ill to be moved, but later they said his condition was stable enough for the flight. His wife Yulia is with him.
Mr Navalny’s medical evacuation flight – paid for by the German non-governmental organisation Cinema for Peace – landed at Tegel airport in Berlin on Saturday morning. He is being treated at the Charité hospital in the German capital Berlin.
Activist and filmmaker Jaka Bizilj, who is also the founder of the Cinema for Peace Foundation, told reporters outside the hospital that Mr Navalny’s condition was “very worrying”.
He said: “It’s not only about the question if he will survive this. It’s a question what kind of damage there is, if he will survive this and come back to normal fully.”
Anastasia Vasilieva, Mr Navalny’s personal doctor, was not allowed to see him while he was in hospital in Russia. But the doctor said she was hopeful he could recover now that he was in Germany.
“I’m sure that they can treat him and do everything to eliminate this toxic agent from his body,” she said.
Medical staff treating the Putin critic at the hospital in Omsk said before his flight that his life was not in immediate danger.
Earlier, Mr Navalny’s spokeswoman, Kira Yarmysh, tweeted: “Massive thanks to everyone for their support. The struggle for Alexei’s life and health is just beginning.”
Ms Yarmysh criticised the procedure saying it was a pity that doctors had taken so long to approve his flight as the plane and the right documents had been ready since Friday morning. On Thursday, Mr Navalny fell ill during a flight from Tomsk to Moscow, and his plane made an emergency landing in Omsk.
A photograph on social media shows him drinking from a cup at a Tomsk airport cafe before the flight. His team and supporters suspect a poisonous substance was put in his tea.
Later, a disturbing video appeared to show a stricken Mr Navalny howling in agony on the flight. Passenger Pavel Lebedev said he had heard the activist “screaming in pain”.
Alexander Murakhovsky, The head doctor at the hospital where Mr Navalny was being treated in Omsk, warned late on Friday that doctors did not recommend flying “but his wife insists on her husband being transferred to a German clinic”.