Alexei Navalny blames Vladimir Putin for poisoning him

Alexei Navalny blames Vladimir Putin for poisoning him
Navalny was released from hospital in Berlin last week. Source: Reuters
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Daily US Times: Leading Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny says he believes President Vladimir Putin was responsible for his poisoning.

In an interview with German news magazine Der Spiegel, he said: “I assert that Putin is behind this act, I don’t see any other explanation,”

Germany says he was poisoned by a Novichok nerve agent. Its findings were confirmed by labs in Sweden and France.

The Kremlin denies any involvement on poisoning Mr Navalny.

Mr Navalny, a vocal critic of Vladimir Putin, collapsed on a flight in Russia’s Siberia region on 20 August. He was transferred to the Charity hospital in the German capital Berlin two days later.

Der Spiegel published the interview on Thursday. This is the first interview since he fell ill. Mr Navalny said in the interview that the order to use Novichok could only have come from the heads of three of Russia’s intelligence services, all of whom work under Vladimir Putin.

The 44-year-old told the magazine: “If 30 people have access to a [chemical] agent, and not three, then it’s a global threat.”

The Russian opposition activist’s supporters initially believed his tea had been spiked at Tomsk airport but traces of the nerve agent were later found on water bottles at the hotel where he stayed the previous night.

“You feel no pain, but you know you’re dying. Straight away,” speaking of his experience, Mr Navalny said.

He said it was only because of “a chain of lucky circumstances” that he had been able to receive urgent medical care and survive, he said. Otherwise, “it would have just been a suspicious death”.

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