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After 32 Days, Navalny Walks Free

'Complete recovery is possible' for Russian opposition leader who leaves hospital
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 23, 2020 6:28 AM CDT

(Newser) – Alexei Navalny has finally left the Berlin hospital where he was treated for suspected Novichok poisoning. The Russian opposition leader was discharged on Tuesday, a few days after he posted a photo of himself walking in Charité Hospital. The hospital said his condition "has improved sufficiently for him to be discharged from acute inpatient care." It added he had spent 32 days there, including 24 in intensive care, per CNN. Navalny collapsed on a flight from Tomsk to Moscow on Aug. 20 and was initially hospitalized in Omsk following an emergency landing, per the BBC. He was flown to Germany two days later. He has vowed to return to Russia despite rumors that President Vladimir Putin ordered the poisoning. The Kremlin has denied any involvement. A preliminary probe in Russia wrapped on Monday and did not result in a criminal investigation, per CNN.

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French newspaper Le Monde has reported that Putin had condemned Navalny as an "internet troublemaker who had simulated diseases in the past" in a Sept. 14 phone call with President Emmanuel Macron, per the BBC. But labs in Germany, France, and Sweden have confirmed that a Novichok agent was used. Traces of the nerve agent were found on a water bottle in Navalny's Tomsk hotel room. Several other Russian dissidents have been poisoned in the past. And Britain said Russian intelligence agents used Novichok on former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury, England, in March 2018. They survived, though a woman who came in contact with the nerve agent died. "The treating physicians believe that complete recovery is possible," the hospital said of Navalny, though it warned of "potential long-term effects." (Read more Alexei Navalny stories.)

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