German doctors confirm Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny was poisoned

e7bc1bee 3fcc 51cc 95eb 3f9184f867d0 - German doctors confirm Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny was poisoned

Berlin – German doctors said on Monday that medical examinations indicated that Russia opposition figure Alexei Navalny, who is in a Berlin hospital after collapsing on a plane in Russia last week, had been poisoned.

Navalny, a critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, had been flown to Germany for treatment on Saturday.

The Kremlin has said it was unclear what caused Navalny to fall ill and that initial tests did not show he was poisoned, as his aides charged.

Berlin’s Charite hospital said a team of doctors there had examined him in detail after his arrival.

“The clinical findings indicate poisoning by a substance from the group of active substances called cholinesterase inhibitors,” the hospital said in a statement.

The specific substance was not yet known, they said. The outcome remains uncertain but long-term effects, especially to the nervous system, could not be ruled out, it said.

4191d261 ec30 58fe b31c d12515d0b5c2 - German doctors confirm Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny was poisoned
An exterior view of the Charite hospital in Berlin, Germany. Picture: Paul Zinken/dpa via AP

Cholinesterase inhibitors are drugs that can increase communication between nerve cells in the brain. They are sometimes used to temporarily improve or stabilise the symptoms of people with dementia.

Common side effects of cholinesterase inhibitors include vomiting, muscle cramps, headache and hallucinations.

Certain chemical classes of pesticides work against bugs by interfering with, or ‘inhibiting’ cholinesterase but they can also be poisonous, or toxic, to humans in some situations.

Navalny collapsed on a plane on Thursday last week after drinking tea while on his way to campaign in Siberia.

Doctors at the Siberian hospital that first treated Navalny said earlier on Monday they had saved his life but they had not found traces of poison in his system. They had not come under pressure from authorities while treating Navalny, they said.

Navalny has been a thorn in the Kremlin’s side for more than a decade, exposing what he says is high-level graft and mobilising crowds of young protesters.

He has been repeatedly detained for organising public meetings and rallies and sued over his investigations into corruption. He was barred from running in a presidential election in 2018.

e7bc1bee 3fcc 51cc 95eb 3f9184f867d0 - German doctors confirm Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny was poisoned

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