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Russian opposition leader Navalny has likely been poisoned

Credit: Wikipedia

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny may have been purposely poisoned after a cup of tea sent him to a hospital in Siberia.

As of yet, it is unclear whether his symptoms were caused deliberately. Doctors say he could also be suffering from a simple food poisoning. At this time, Navalny is unconscious and on breathing support, and his situation has been described as serious.

Navalny fell ill on a flight from the Siberian city of Omsk to Moscow. The plane made an emergency landing, after which an ambulance took him to the hospital. Video footage reportedly captured Navalny’s pained screams on the flight.

“Navalny is the most important opposition leader to the Kremlin,” Dutch Russia correspondent David Jan Godfroid told NOS. “Right now, he’s the only politician that really matters.”

Navalny’s spokesperson Kira Yarmysh told a Russian radio station that she is “certain that Navalny has been poisoned.”

“A year ago, when Alexei was detained, he was poisoned. Obviously, they have done the same to him now,”  Yarmysh tweeted this morning.

“We assume that Alexei was poisoned with something that was mixed into his tea. It was the only thing that he drank this morning. Doctors say the toxin was absorbed faster through the hot liquid. Alexey is now unconscious.”

In July, nearly 78% of the Russian people approved constitutional reforms that will enable to maintain a strong political influence until approximately 2036. Navalny called the voting results “a huge lie” and called on citizens to mobilise for the upcoming regional elections in September.

At one time, Wall Street Journal called Navalny “the man Vladimir Putin fears most”. Navalny is a prominent anti-corruption activist and a long-term criticiser of Russian president Putin and his government.

Navalny has been persecuted repeatedly over the years, earning him more than five years in prison and millions of rubles in fines, amounting to more than €45,000. Internationally, his criminal charges (including fraud) have often been regarded as a way to muzzle Navalny.

Amée Zoutberg
The Brussels Times