Russian dissident Alexei Navalny arrives in Berlin for medical treatment

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Russian dissident Alexei Navalny arrives in Berlin for medical treatment

Vladimir Putin critic and prominent Russian dissident Alexei Navalny, currently in a coma, has landed in Berlin to receive medical treatment. His supporters believe he was poisoned; the Kremlin denies this.

Russian dissident politician Alexei Navalny landed at Berlin Tegel airport after being airlifted from a hospital in Omsk, Russia. He is being treated for suspected poisoning at Berlin’s Charite hospital.

The plane with Alexei Navalny lying in a coma landed on Saturday morning at 8:46 a.m. on the military section of Berlin’s Tegel Airport. His wife Julia flew with him, it was said.

The German military brought him to the hospital from the airport in an intensive care transporter, according to DPA news agency.

The Russian opposition leader is currently in a coma and breathing through a ventilator.

Jaka Bizilj, founder of Cinemas for Peace, the German NGO that funded Navalny’s flight to Berlin, told Bild newspaper that the Russian politician’s condition was stable following his arrival in Germany.

Navalny left Russia early Saturday on a flight bound for Germany following more than 24 hours of wrangling between German and Russian medics.

An ambulance carrying Navalny arrived at Omsk airport at around 6 a.m. local time (00:30 UTC). He left in a private plane chartered by Cinema for Peace that was sent to fly Navalny to Berlin.

Shortly before takeoff, his spokeswoman Kira Yarmysh wrote on Twitter that he had boarded the plane.

“The fight for Alexei’s life and health is just beginning and there is a long way to go, but at least the first step has been taken,” she said.

“An extensive medical diagnosis is currently being carried out. After completing the examinations and after consulting the family, the treating doctors will comment on the disease and further treatment steps, ”said the Charité University Medical Center. “The examinations will take some time.”

According to “Cinema for Peace” activist Jaka Bizilj, Navalny’s condition was “stable” both during the flight and on landing. Bizilj is heavily involved in the organization of the chartered rescue flier that picked him up from the Siberian Omsk.

“It is a great relief for those involved to note that the Siberian odyssey has come to an end,” Bizilj continued. In a meeting with the family, the Charité will discuss how to proceed and now take care of the patient.

Navalny was staying in Omsk after he lost consciousness on Thursday while flying from Tomsk to Moscow. Navalny had passed out on the plane after drinking a tea that presumably poisoned him. It was only after hours of back and forth that the Russian doctors gave permission to have him flown out to Germany on an ambulance from there.

Related articles: Alexei Navalny to be flown to Germany after suspected poisoning

Targeted by Kremlin

The politician and corruption investigator is one of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s harshest and most prominent critics. His supporters say that tea he drank was laced with poison and the Kremlin is responsible.

Navalny was rushed to hospital in Omsk on Thursday. Russian doctors say there is no evidence of poisoning, claiming Navalny has a “metabolic disorder.”

Navalny’s supporters said the delay in giving permission for him to be transferred was a ploy to stall his treatment until there was no more poison in his system. The Kremlin denied the claim.

Like many other opposition politicians in Russia, Navalny has frequently been detained by law enforcement and pro-Kremlin groups. He was rushed to hospital in 2017 from jail in what doctors called a “severe allergic reaction” but supporters suspect may have been a poisoning.

He served time for violating protest regulations. 

ab,ed/shs,nm (AFP, Reuters)

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