Alexei Navalny was poisoned via a water bottle in his Siberian hotel room, according to the Kremlin critic’s entourage.
Navalny later was flown to Germany, where he was kept in an induced coma for more than two weeks as he was treated with an antidote at Berlin’s Charite hospital. Members of his team accused the Kremlin of involvement in the poisoning, charges that Russian officials have vehemently denied.
The Kremlin has bristled at calls from German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other leaders to answer questions about the poisoning, urging Germany to provide its evidence.
On Tuesday, Navalny posted a picture of himself from his hospital bed, hugged by his wife and children. “I still can’t do almost anything on my own, but yesterday I managed to breathe on my own for the entire day,” he added in the post.
A video posted on Navalny’s Instagram account on Thursday showed members of his team inspecting his hotel room in Tomsk before he left the city on August 20 and collapsed on a flight home. The plane made an emergency landing in Omsk, where he was hospitalised before being taken to Berlin two days later on a medevac plane.
The post said the staff members went to the room an hour after learning that he had fallen ill, accompanied by a lawyer, and packed the bottles and other items for further inspection. In the video, someone who appears to be a hotel employee could be heard telling members of the Navalny team that they need to ask police before taking any items from the room, and one of them answered they couldn’t do that.
“Two weeks later, a German laboratory found a trace of Novichok on a bottle from the Tomsk hotel room,” they said. “And then another three labs that took Alexei’s samples proved that he was poisoned with it. Now we understand: It was done before he left his room to go to the airport.”