Alexey Navalny was poisoned, Berlin hospital says

Alexey Navalny was poisoned, Berlin hospital says
Mr Navalny is a bold critic of Russian President Putin. Source: AP
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Daily US Times: The hospital treating Russian opposition leader and one of Vladimir Putin’s fierce critic Alexey Navalny says tests indicate that he was poisoned.

Berlin’s Charite Hospital noted that Mr Navalny was suffering from “intoxication by a substance from the group of cholinesterase inhibitors.”

The hospital added that the Russian leader, who was transferred to the German capital from the Siberian city of Omsk on Saturday morning, is in an artificial coma in an intensive care unit.

In a statement on Monday, the hospital said: “His state of health is serious, but there is currently no acute danger to his life.”

The hospital said the specific substance used to poison Navalny has not yet been identified. “Widespread analysis has begun. The effect of the poison – i.e. the inhibition of cholinesterase in the organism – has been proven several times and in independent laboratories,” the German hospital added.

The German government said earlier on Monday that it was “fairly likely” that Navalny was poisoned and will therefore need special protection.

During a press briefing on Monday, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman, Steffen Seibert, told journalists: “We are dealing with a patient who, it is fairly likely, was poisoned. Because there is a certain probability of a poison attack, protection is necessary.”

Kira Yarmysh, a spokesperson of Navaly, said last week that he fell sick from suspected poisoning on a flight to Moscow from the Siberian city of Tomsk.

Jaka Bizilj, chairman for Cinema for Peace Foundation, which organized the medical evacuation, told on Saturday that the Putin critic was in a “stable condition.”

On Friday, the Siberian hospital that had previously been treating Navalny rejected claims he had been poisoned — even as his wife said the doctors there could not be trusted.

Anatoly Kalinichenko, the deputy chief physician at the Russian hospital where Navalny was being treated told a news conference on Friday that no poisons were found in Navalny’s blood or urine. Kalinichenko told local journalists that they don’t believe that the patient suffered poisoning.

He said: “Poisons or traces of their presence in the body have not been identified. Probably, the diagnosis of ‘poisoning’ remains somewhere in the back of our minds. But we do not believe that the patient suffered poisoning.”

The hospital’s statement said Mr Navalny is being treated with an antidote – atropine, but the clinical outcome remained unclear, and warned of possible effects on the nervous system.

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