Earlier this week, Alexei Navalny posted once for the first time since he fell ill. He said he was now able to breathe unaided. His spokeswoman said he intended to return to Russia.
Alexei Navalny became ill during the flight from Tomsk to Moscow on August 20, and the plane made an emergency landing in the city Omsk. Russian officials were persuaded to allow him to be airlifted to Germany two days later.
After carrying out tests, Germany said there was “unequivocal proof” that Alexei Navalny had been poisoned with a Novichok nerve agent.
According to the German government, labs in Sweden and France later confirmed the findings. A nerve agent from the Novichok group was also used to poison Russian 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.
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.
In response Russia’s ambassador to the UN, Vasily Nebenzya, denied his country’s involvement in the attack and demanded “material proof” from Britain to support its charge.
The US ambassador Nikki Haley said Washington stood in “absolute solidarity” with the UK, citing the “special relationship” between the two countries.
The mass expulsion is the largest since 31 were ordered out in 1985 after double agent Oleg Gordievsky defected.
Former spy Sergei Skripal, 66, and his daughter, Yulia Skripal, 33, remain critically ill in hospital after being found slumped on a bench on March 4.
Russia refused to meet Theresa May’s midnight deadline to co-operate in the case, prompting her to announce a series of measures intended to send a “clear message” to Russia: expelling 23 diplomats; increasing checks on private flights, customs and freight; freezing Russian state assets where there is evidence they may be used to threaten the life or property of UK nationals or residents; ministers and the Royal Family boycotting the FIFA World Cup in Russia later this year; suspending all planned high-level bilateral contacts between the UK and Russia and planning to consider new laws to increase defenses against “hostile state activity”.
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