Kremlin critic Navalny ‘stable’ after landing in Germany

Kremlin critic Navalny ‘stable’ after landing in Germany

They announced on Friday evening they had agreed to let him be transferred after German doctors examined him and the Cinema for Peace foundation said they were “willing and able” to transport him to Berlin.

The turnaround also followed a letter from Navalny’s wife with a direct appeal to Putin and after aides asked the European Court of Human Rights to intervene with the Russian government.

Navalny is the latest in a long line of Kremlin critics who have fallen seriously ill or died in apparent poisonings.

His wife told journalists that she wanted Navalny to be “in an independent hospital, whose doctors we trust”.

Yarmysh tweeted that “the battle for Alexei’s life and health is just beginning… but at least now we’ve taken the first step.”

The air ambulance was dispatched to take Navalny to Berlin after Chancellor Angela Merkel extended an offer of treatment.

European Union leaders including Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron have voiced concern for Navalny, who has faced repeated physical attacks and prosecutions in more than a decade of opposition to Russian authorities.

Navalny lost consciousness shortly after his plane took off on Thursday from Tomsk in Siberia, where he was working to support opposition candidates ahead of regional elections next month.

Yarmysh said he had seemed “absolutely fine” before boarding the flight and had only consumed a cup of tea at the airport.

She said she was sure he had suffered from an “intentional poisoning” and blamed Putin.

‘Freed hostage’

She also claimed Russia’s refusal to evacuate Navalny was a ploy to “play for time” and make it impossible to trace poison, posing a “critical threat to his life”.

Navalny has made many enemies with his anti-corruption investigations, which often reveal the lavish lifestyles of Russia’s elite and attract millions of views online.

He is the latest in a long line of Kremlin critics who have fallen seriously ill or died in apparent poisonings.

The director of the Anti-Corruption Foundation that Navalny founded, Ivan Zhdanov, confirmed on social media that the organisation was “continuing its work”.

Many supporters expressed relief he was going for treatment outside Russia.

“I feel as relieved now as if terrorists had freed a hostage after long negotiations,” fellow opposition politician Ilya Yashin tweeted, criticising the delay in Navalny’s departure.

“I want to believe that this wasted time won’t cost Alexei his life.”

Published at Sat, 22 Aug 2020 11:11:54 +0000