Traces of poison found in blood of Russian opposition leader Navalny
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Traces of poison found in blood of Russian opposition leader Navalny

Credit: Belga

German doctors have very probably found traces of poison in the blood of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, they say.

Navalny fell ill on a flight to Moscow. His plane made an emergency landing and the opposition leader was taken to a hospital in Siberia. Doctors in the Siberian hospital refuted that he had been poisoned, alleging instead that he suffered from a metabolic disorder.

While doctors first said he was too vulnerable to be transferred, Navalny was eventually taken to the Charité hospital in Berlin, Germany, where doctors have been running tests, with signs currently pointing towards poisoning.

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“The specific substance involved remains unknown, and a further series of comprehensive testing has been initiated,” the Charité hospital said.

“The effect of the poison – namely, the inhibition of cholinesterase in the body – was confirmed by multiple tests in independent laboratories,” they added. Cholinesterase is an enzyme that influences the functioning of the nervous system.

“We are talking about a patient who has most probably been the victim of a poison attack,” said the spokesman for the German Government, Steffen Seibert. “The suspicion is not that Navalny poisoned himself, but that someone poisoned him. The German Government is taking this suspicion very seriously.”

“The outcome of the disease is uncertain,” said the doctors in Germany, and “particularly as regards the nervous system, consequences cannot be ruled out at this stage.”

That said, “while his condition is serious, it is not currently life-threatening,” according to the doctors.

Jason Spinks
The Brussels Times

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