Putin critic Alexei Navalny able to leave bed as he recovers from poisoning


Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has recovered from a poisoning enough that he can now briefly leave his bed, according to the Berlin hospital where he is being treated.

Navalny, one of Russia's most outspoken critics of President Vladimir Putin, was flown to Germany two days after he fell ill in August on a domestic flight in Russia and remains at Berlin's Charite hospital. Berlin has called on Russia to investigate the case.

The hospital said on Monday that Navalny, who had been in an induced coma for more than a week, has now been "successfully removed from mechanical ventilation," adding that he is undergoing mobilization and is able to leave his bed for short periods of time.

The statement comes the same day the German government announced specialist labs in France and Sweden confirmed that Navalny, 44, was poisoned with the Soviet-era nerve agent Novichok.

Novichok is the same class of agent that British authorities said was used on former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury, England, in 2018.

The Hague-based Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons is also taking steps to have samples from Navalny tested at its reference laboratories, according to German government spokesman Steffen Seibert.

Germany has asked France and Sweden for an independent examination of the findings. Labs in both countries as well as the OPCW took their own new samples from Navalny.

“In efforts separate from the OPCW examinations, which are still ongoing, three laboratories have meanwhile independently of one another presented proof that Mr. Navalny’s poisoning was caused by a nerve agent from the Novichok group,” Seibert said.

The Kremlin rejected any allegations that the Russian government was involved in the poisoning of Navalny. It has also accused the West of trying to smear Moscow over the incident.

Seibert reiterated Germany's calls on Russia to discuss what happened to Navalny.

“We once again call on Russia to make a statement on the incident,” Seibert said. “We are closely consulting with our European partners regarding possible next steps.”

Although Monday's update on Navalny's health did not include any possible indication of long-term health concerns, doctors have cautioned, despite Navalny's strong recovery efforts, that long-term health problems related to the poisoning can't be ruled out.