For Poisoned Putin Critic, Good News From Hospital

Alexei Navalny is able to leave his bed in Germany
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 14, 2020 11:00 AM CDT
Poisoned Putin Critic Takes a Step Toward Recovery
In this 2019 file photo, Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny speaks to the media in front of a security officer standing guard at the Anti-Corruption Foundation office in Moscow.   (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, File)

(Newser) – Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s health has improved so that he is now able to leave his bed briefly, the Berlin hospital treating him said Monday, while Germany announced that French and Swedish labs have confirmed its findings that he was poisoned with the Soviet-era nerve agent Novichok, per the AP. Navalny, the most prominent opponent of Russian President Vladimir Putin, was flown to Germany two days after falling ill on Aug. 20 on a domestic flight in Russia and is being treated at Berlin's Charite hospital. Berlin has demanded that Russia investigate the case. The Charite said Navalny has now been "successfully removed from mechanical ventilation." He "is currently undergoing mobilization and is able to leave his bed for short periods of time."

Monday's statement didn't address the long-term outlook for the 44-year-old Russian politician and anti-corruption investigator. Doctors have cautioned that even though Navalny is recovering well, long-term health problems from the poisoning can't be ruled out. The Kremlin has bristled at calls from German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other world leaders for Russia to answer questions about the poisoning, denying any official involvement and accusing the West of trying to smear Moscow. Earlier Monday, the German government said tests by labs in France and Sweden had backed up earlier findings by a German military lab that Navalny was poisoned with Novichok, the same class of Soviet-era agent that British authorities said was used on former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury, England, in 2018.

(Read more Alexei Navalny stories.)

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