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Germany: 'Certain Likelihood' Navalny Was Poisoned

Tests in Berlin are still underway as Russian opposition leader remains unconscious
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 24, 2020 10:10 AM CDT

(Newser) – Now that he's safely in Berlin, a seriously ill Alexei Navalny is being treated and monitored by doctors, and now the German government is saying the 44-year-old Russian opposition leader needs police protection, as it seems fairly clear what happened to put him in this state. "Because one can assume with a certain likelihood that we are dealing with a poison attack, protection is essential," Steffen Seibert, a spokesman for Chancellor Angela Merkel, said at a news conference on Monday, the Guardian reports. And indeed, security has been upped at the Charite hospital, where Navalny reportedly remains unconscious after being flown there Saturday from Russia. The hospital has said he's going through thorough testing for poisoning, but it notes it could take awhile to find out the results.

Navalny's family is staying mum on what they may know so far, though an aide said Sunday he's in stable condition. Seibert added what may be seen as somewhat obvious. "The suspicion is not that Mr. Navalny poisoned himself, but that someone poisoned Mr. Navalny," he said. "And there are, unfortunately, one or two examples of such poisonings in recent Russian history." Russian doctors said they didn't think Navalny had been poisoned, though Navalny's supporters say those doctors are likely feeling Kremlin pressure. Some hopeful news for him: It looks like he'll pull through, though not without struggle, according to the founder of the organization that flew him to Berlin. "Navalny will survive [the] poison attack, but be incapacitated for months as a politician," the Cinema for Peace Foundation's Jaka Bizilj told the German tabloid Bild, per Reuters. (Read more Alexei Navalny stories.)

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