Berlin hospital treating poisoned Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny says his condition has further improved and he is now able to leave his bed briefly
Navalny, the most prominent opponent of Russian President Vladimir Putin, was flown to Germany two days after falling ill on 20 August while on a domestic flight to Russia and is being treated at the Charite hospital in Berlin. Berlin asked Russia to investigate the case.
Charite said Navalny was “successfully removed from mechanical ventilation”.
“He is currently being mobilized and is able to leave his bed for short periods of time,” he added.
Monday’s statement did not address the long-term prospects for the 44-year-old Russian politician and anti-corruption investigator. Doctors have warned that even though Navalny is recovering well, long-term health problems due to poisoning cannot be ruled out.
The Kremlin has become nervous about requests from German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other world leaders for Russia to answer questions about the poisoning, denying any official involvement and accusing the West of attempting to slander Moscow.
On Monday, the German government said laboratory tests in France and Sweden had confirmed previous findings by a German military laboratory that Navalny had been poisoned with Novichok, the same class of Soviet-era agents that British authorities have. said it was used on former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury, England in 2018.
The Hague-based Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons is also taking steps to have Navalny samples tested in its reference laboratories, German government spokesman Steffen Seibert said.
He said Germany had asked France and Sweden for an independent review of the results. German officials said laboratories in both countries, as well as OPCW, took their new samples from Navalny.
“In separate efforts from the OPCW examinations, which are still ongoing, three laboratories have meanwhile, independently of each other, presented evidence that Mr. Navalny’s poisoning was caused by a nerve agent from the Novichok group,” Seibert said.
“We ask Russia once again to issue a statement on the incident,” he added. “We are closely consulting our European partners regarding possible next steps.”
Seibert would not have identified the French and Swedish specialized laboratories. But the head of the Swedish Defense Research Agency, Asa Scott, told the Swedish news agency TT: “We can confirm that we see the same results from the German laboratory, that is, there is no doubt that it is these. substances “.
French President Emmanuel Macron expressed his “deep concern over the criminal act” that targeted Navalny during a phone call with Putin on Monday, Macron’s office said.
Macron confirmed that France reached the same conclusions as its European partners on poisoning, according to the statement. “A clarification from Russia is needed in the framework of a credible and transparent investigation,” he added.
The Kremlin said Putin in the call “stressed the irregularity of the baseless accusations against the Russian side” and stressed Russia’s request to Germany to hand over Navalny’s analyzes and samples to Russian experts. Putin also called for joint work on the case by German and Russian doctors.
Russian authorities pushed Germany to share evidence that led it to conclude “without doubt” that Navalny was poisoned with Novichok. Berlin has rejected suggestions from Moscow that it is dragging its feet.
Asked why no Navalny samples were delivered to Russia, German Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Adebahr replied that “Mr. Navalny was being treated in a Russian hospital for 48 hours”.
Once ill, Navalny was treated in a hospital in the Siberian city of Omsk, where Russian doctors said no evidence of poisoning could be found and said he was too unstable to be transferred. A German charity sent a medical evacuation plane to take him to Berlin for treatment, which it did after German doctors said he was stable enough to be relocated.
“There are samples of Mr. Navalny on the Russian side,” Adebahr said. “The Russian side is called, even after three independent laboratories have established the result, to explain itself, and Russia has … all the information and all the samples it needs for an analysis.”
Navalny was kept in an induced coma for more than a week as he was treated with an antidote before hospital officials said a week ago that his condition had improved enough that he could be relieved.
Frank Jordans in Berlin, Vladimir Isachenkov in Moscow, Sylvie Corbet in Paris and Jan M. Olsen in Copenhagen, Denmark contributed to this report.