It appears that Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was poisoned while aboard a plane from Moscow to the Siberian city of Omsk last Thursday, according to a Sky News report. Navalny collapsed a short time after having a cup of tea during the flight. The politician was hospitalized in a local Russian hospital before a German medical team arrived to provide him urgent treatment and personal protection.
According to the latest reports, Navalny remains in serious condition. Doctors treating him have said it remains to be seen whether the longtime dissident will be able to make a full recovery but at the present moment, it appears his life is not in jeopardy.
Doctors have also said that according to a medical analysis, the substance that was allegedly used to poison Navalny was a toxin by the name of cholinesterase, employed to break down the functioning of the nervous system.
Navalny's personal physicians have said the political leader's transfer to Germany was delayed in order to prevent an autopsy from discovering poison toxins in his system, therefore eliminating the possibility of claims to wrongdoing on the part of Moscow. Russian physicians, meantime, claim the matter was handled according to protocol and Mr. Navalny's timely transfer was delayed as a medical precaution.
According to a report in the Dail Mail, Navalny was flown out to Germany after his wife Yulia begged Russian President Vladimir Putin to allow his bitter rival to leave the country for treatment. Mrs. Navalny been barred from seeing her husband in the direct days following the incident.
Navalny's press secretary Kira Yarmish tweeted last week, “A year ago, when Alexei was in a detention center, he was poisoned. Obviously, they’ve done the same thing to him again.”
Navalny is known as the face of domestic opposition to Putin and has been jailed dozens of times for his activism over the past decade.
Last year, he was hospitalized after his doctor said he was poisoned with "undefined chemical substances."