World

Alexei Navalny released from hospital in Berlin after ‘severe Novichok poisoning’

Last month, the Russian opposition politician was flown to Berlin after falling ill on a flight to Serbia and remained in a coma. His team claim he was poisoned with a Novichok nerve agent. But now, Mr Navalny has been discharged.

“The patient’s condition had improved sufficiently for him to be discharged from acute inpatient care,” the Charite hospital said in a statement today.

“Based on the patient’s progress and current condition, the treating physicians believe that complete recovery is possible.

“However, it remains too early to gauge the potential long-term effects of his severe poisoning.

“The decision to make details of Mr. Navalny’s condition public was made in consultation with the patient and his wife.” 

Berlin said tests in Germany, France and Sweden confirmed Mr Navalny was poisoned with a Novichok nerve agent.

Following news of his poisoning, the West demanded an explanation from Russia – who have continued to deny any involvement.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg also called for an inquiry into the matter while the US National Security Council (NSC) said they will hold Russia to account.

An NSC spokesperson said: “We will work with allies and the international community to hold those in Russia accountable, wherever the evidence
leads, and restrict funds for their malign activities.”

Earlier this month, Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel faced pressure to cut ties with Russian and abandon the Nord Stream 2 pipeline development following Mr Navalny’s poisoning.

Ms Merkel said: “Someone tried to silence [Mr Navalny] and in the name of the whole German government I condemn that in the strongest terms.”

The Kremlin has dismissed the allegations and called for Germany to provide information and evidence.

The Russian foreign ministry spokesperson, Maria Zakhharova, asked: “Where are the facts? Where are the formulas, at least some kind of information?”

The Nord Stream 2 is a new export gas pipeline running from Russia to Europe across the Baltic Sea.

Following the poisoning of Mr Navalny, Wolfgang Ischinger, chairman of the Munich Security Conference and a former ambassador to Washington, backed a response from the EU and NATO.

He said: “If we want to send a clear message to Moscow with our partners, then economic relations must be on the agenda and that means the Nord Stream 2 project must not be left out.

“We can’t put up a wall between the West and Russia, that would be a step too far, but there is a middle ground, something between diplomatic gestures and total boycott.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson hit back at Russia earlier this month and urged Moscow to explain what happened.

He said: “The Russian government must now explain what happened to Mr Navalny – we will work with international partners to ensure justice is done.”

Back in 2018, a Novichok nerve agent was used to poison former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the UK.

Both survived but Dawn Sturgess was exposed to the same nerve agent and later died in hospital.

The UK accused Russia’s military intelligence of carrying out the attack.

The name Novichok applies to a group of advanced nerve agents developed by the Soviet Union in the 1970s and 1980s.

Novichok agents block messages from the nerves to the muscles, causing the collapse of many bodily functions.

They were reportedly designed to be more toxic than other chemical weapons.

Some versions can take effect rapidly from 30 seconds to two minutes.

Source:

www.express.co.uk

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