Alexei Navalny Will Return to Russia
Alexei Navalny, the Russian opposition leader who was allegedly poisoned last month, is to return to Russia, his spokeswoman has said.
Kira Yarmysh tweeted: “It’s puzzling to me why anyone should think otherwise.”
Alexei Navalny also posted a picture on Instagram for the first time since he was poisoned, announcing that he was breathing free of ventilation.
He collapsed on a flight from Siberia on August 20. Tests have shown he was poisoned with a Novichok nerve agent.
Alexei Navalny was transferred to the Charité hospital in Berlin, Germany.
His team alleges he was poisoned on the orders of President Vladimir Putin.
However, the Kremlin denies any involvement.
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Kira Yarmysh also wrote: “All morning journalists have been writing to me and asking, is it true that Alexei plans to return to Russia?
“Again I can confirm to everyone: no other options were ever considered.”
The announcement came shortly after Alexei Navalny took to Instagram.
He wrote: “Hi, this is Navalny. I have been missing you. I still can’t do much, but yesterday I managed to breathe on my own for the entire day.
“Just on my own, no extra help, not even a valve in my throat. I liked it very much. It’s a remarkable process that is underestimated by many. Strongly recommended.”
There is a modest police presence outside the hospital where Alexei Navalny is being treated.
There are two armed officers by one entrance and a police van that has been stationed outside for days.
Unconfirmed reports in German media suggest two further armed police units have been set up inside – outside the ward and by Navalny’s bed.
Meanwhile, the Kremlin has ruled out a meeting between Alexei Navalny and President Putin after the opposition figure recovers.
“We do not see the need for such a meeting, so I believe that such a meeting will not take place,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, according to the Interfax news agency.
Alexei Navalny, 44, is an anti-corruption campaigner who has long been the most prominent face of opposition to Vladimir Putin.
His supporters believe his tea was spiked at Tomsk airport on August 20.
Alexei Navalny became ill during the flight, and the plane made an emergency landing in Omsk. Russian officials were persuaded to allow Navalny to be airlifted to Germany two days later.
A nerve agent from the Novichok group was also used to poison ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury, in England, in 2018. They both survived, but a local woman, Dawn Sturgess, died after coming into contact with the poison.
Britain accused Russia’s military intelligence of carrying out that attack. Twenty countries expelled more than 100 Russian diplomats and spies.
However, Russia denied any involvement.