German doctors say Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny can be airlifted

German doctors say Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny can be airlifted
Supporters suspect Alexei Navalny was poisoned. Source: AP
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Daily US Times: German doctors said after visiting Alexei Navalny, a Kremlin critic who is in a coma after being taken ill on a plane, is able to be transported by air.

But Russian doctors who are treating Mr Navalny in the Siberian city of Omsk had said he was too ill to be moved.

Mr Navalny’s supporters suspect he was poisoned, and accuse the authorities of trying to cover up a crime.

A medically equipped plane is waiting in Omsk to take him to Germany for treatment.

Omsk doctors say no poison was found in his body, but health officials have indicated that traces of an industrial chemical had been found on his hair and skin.

Local doctors said after a preliminary diagnosis on Friday that his condition might be the result of a “metabolic disorder” caused by low blood sugar. They also said Mr Navalny was too unstable to be transported by air.

However, the Russian opposition leader’s team said it was “deadly” for him to remain in the hospital.

He is a very vocal critic of President Vladimir Putin has consistently exposed official corruption in Russia. He has served several jail terms.

His team suspects a poisonous substance was put in his tea at an airport cafe in Tomsk city as he prepared to fly to Moscow.

Foreign leaders including France’s Emmanuel Macron and Germany’s Angela Merkel have expressed concern for Alexei Navalny. Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has also commented on the issue while describing the incident as “unacceptable” and vowed that, if elected, he would “stand up to autocrats like Putin”.

What is being said about Mr Navalny’s fitness to travel?

Cinema for Peace Foundation, a Berlin-based organization, organised an air ambulance to pick up Mr Navalny and bring him back to Berlin, where it said the Charite hospital was ready to treat him.

It said its doctors had described Mr Navalny fit to travel and wanted to fly on Friday night or Saturday morning.

“They can fly him, we are willing. The circumstances and equipment make it possible,” it told.

Mr Navalny’s aide Leonid Volkov said at a news conference in Berlin that at first doctors at the hospital had been helping to facilitate his transfer but abruptly stopped doing so.

He said: “[It was] like something was switched off – like medicine mode off, cover-up operation mode on – and the doctors refused to co-operate any more, refused to give any information even to Alexei’s wife.”

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