BERLIN: Leading Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, who has suffered a suspected poisoning, was in a stable condition in hospital on Saturday after being flown to Berlin following a standoff over his medical evacuation from Russia.
A convoy including two yellow ambulances brought Navalny from Berlin’s Tegel airport to the renowned Charite hospital..
“Navalny’s condition is stable,” Jaka Bizilj, the head of the Cinema for Peace foundation that brought Navalny to Germany in a chartered medical plane, told AFP.
Berlin’s Charite hospital confirmed in a statement that it had admitted Navalny and was carrying out an “extensive medical diagnosis”.
The 44-year-old lawyer and anti-corruption campaigner, one of President Vladimir Putin’s fiercest critics, went into a coma after falling suddenly ill Thursday on a plane to Moscow that had to make an emergency landing in Omsk.
Aides say they believe Navalny was poisoned, apparently via a cup of tea at the airport, and blamed Putin, though Russian doctors said tests showed no trace of any poison.
Doctors treating him in Omsk had refused to let Navalny leave but reversed course after his family and staff demanded he be allowed to travel to Germany.
As the plane left Omsk, Navalny’s wife Yulia thanked supporters via Instagram for their “persistence”.
“Without your support, we wouldn’t have been able to take him!” she wrote.
The Omsk regional health ministry said Saturday that both caffeine and alcohol were found in Navalny’s urine, but “no convulsive or synthetic poisons were detected”.
Navalny’s spokesman Kira Yarmysh said he had neither drunk alcohol nor taken any medication.
The air ambulance arrived in Omsk on Friday morning but Russian doctors initially said Navalny was too “unstable” to be moved, before relenting later that day.