Wed, 21 Oct 2020

Russian opposition politician Aleksei Navalny blames President Vladimir Putin for the poisoning in August that nearly took his life and vows to return home to continue his anti-corruption campaign.

In his first interview since falling ill after ingesting what international experts say was a Soviet-style nerve agent from the Novichok group while he was in Siberia, the 44-year-old longtime Kremlin critic told the German publication Der Spiegel that his health continues to improve since being released from a Berlin hospital on September 22 after spending 32 days in the clinic, including 24 days in an intensive care unit.

'I will not give Putin the gift of not returning to Russia,' he said in the interview published on October 1, adding that for him, 'Putin is behind this act. I don't see any other explanation.'

Navalny collapsed aboard a flight from Siberia to Moscow on August 20 and spent nearly three weeks in an induced coma.

After 48 hours in a hospital in Omsk, where Russian doctors said they found no trace of any poisoning, Navalny was transferred to the Charite hospital in the German capital.

Doctors there found traces of a Novichok-like nerve agent in his body. Their findings were independently confirmed by labs in France and Sweden, sparking international condemnation.

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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