Alexei Navalny, fierce critic of Russia’s Vladimir Putin, still in coma but not poisoned, according to state-run hospital

Omsk, Russia — Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s life is being put at risk by Russian doctors refusing to let him be moved from the Siberian hospital where he’s being treated for suspected poisoning, his spokeswoman charged on Friday. A senior doctor at the facility claimed, meanwhile, that no poison had been found in Navalny’s body. 

Hospital officials have not allowed the harsh critic of President Vladimir Putin to be seen by his family or one of his own doctors who came to the facility. 

“The chief doctor stated that Navalny is not transportable. Condition is unstable,” his spokeswoman Kira Yarmysh said on Twitter. “The ban on transporting Alexei is a direct threat to his life. It is deadly to remain in the Omsk hospital without equipment or a diagnosis.” 

Deputy head doctor at the state-run Omsk hospital Anatoly Kalinichenko said in a video statement Friday that “no poisons or traces of their presence in the body have been detected… We do not believe that the patient has suffered poisoning.”  

People gather to show support for Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny in Saint Petersburg
A woman at a gathering to show support for Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, in St. Petersburg, Russia, on August 20, 2020. Alexei Navalny was admitted to hospital in Omsk on Thursday suffering symptoms of what his spokeswoman called poisoning. The placard reads: “Navalny was poisoned. We know who is to blame. Alexei, live.”

IGOR RUSSAK / REUTERS


The Reuters news agency said an air ambulance dispatched to Navalny to Germany for treatment had landed in Omsk. Germany and France had both offered to help.

“The ban on the transportation of Navalny is an attempt on his life, which is being made right now by doctors and the deceitful authorities who sanctioned it,” Yarmysh said.

Alexander Murakhovsky, the senior doctor treating Navalny, said earlier Friday that they had five possible “working diagnoses,” but that test results wouldn’t be in until Sunday and he couldn’t say what the theories were.  

Murakhovsky said many legal questions would need to be addressed before Navalny could be moved out of Russia. He said leading doctors had been flown in from Moscow to aid in Navalny’s care.

Navalny, a 44-year-old lawyer and anti-corruption campaigner who is among Putin’s fiercest critics, was hospitalized in Omsk Thursday after he lost consciousness on a flight and the plane made an emergency landing.

Doctors said they were working to save his life after he went into a coma and was put on a ventilator in intensive care. His supporters believe he was poisoned because of his political activities.

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