Berlin: Tests conducted on Russian dissident Alexei Navalny at a German hospital indicate that he was poisoned. However, but doctors said Monday they do not believe Alexei Navalny’s his life at immediate risk.
The Charité Hospital said in a statement that a team of doctors have been examining Navalny since he was flown in Saturday from Siberia. They admitted they have found the presence of ‘cholinesterase inhibitors’ in his system.
Cholinesterase inhibitors are a broad range of substances that are found in several drugs, but also pesticides and nerve agents. However, doctors at Charite said at the moment the specific substance to which Navalny was exposed is not yet known.
“The patient is in an intensive care unit and is still in an induced coma. His health is serious but there is currently no acute danger to his life,” the hospital said in a statement.
Navalny remained in critical but stable condition at the Berlin hospital, with special protection details on hand to ensure his safety, German officials said. Berlin police and federal agents were posted at the downtown Charité Hospital where the 44-year-old is undergoing treatment. Navalny was brought to Germany after Chancellor Angela Merkel personally offered the country’s assistance.
“It was obvious that after his arrival, protective precautions had to be taken,” Merkel’s spokesman, Steffen Seibert, told reporters. “After all, this is a patient who, with a certain degree of probability, was poisoned,” Seibert added.
Seibert refused to comment on Navalny’s condition, but earlier in the day, Dirk Wiese, the German government’s coordinator for Eastern European affairs, told public broadcaster ‘ZDF’ he was ‘currently critical, but stable’. “He is now receiving the best possible treatment,” Wiese said.
Navalny’s supporters believe that tea he drank was laced with poison. They have alleged that the Kremlin is behind both his illness and a delay in transferring him to Germany.
Russian doctors have said, however, that tests have shown no traces of poison in his system. The Kremlin hasn’t yet commented on the allegation.
Navalny’s team last week submitted a request in Russia to launch a criminal probe into the matter. However, as of Monday, Russia’s Investigative Committee still has not opened a case, Navalny’s spokeswoman Kira Yarmysh said.
Ilya Yashin, an opposition politician in Moscow and is a close ally of Navalny. She in a video statement Monday urged Russia’s law enforcement to investigate ‘an attempt at a life of a public figure’. She also demanded that the possible involvement of Russian President Vladimir Putin in the ‘poisoning’ be investigated. “It is Putin who benefits from these endless assaults,” Yashin said.