Putin Was Behind My Poisoning, Navalny Tells German Media
Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny has blamed President Vladimir Putin for his near-fatal poisoning in his first major interview after being discharged from a Berlin hospital.
Navalny spent 16 days in a coma after falling violently ill on a flight in Siberia on Aug. 20 in what his aides call an assassination attempt. Germany says it has unequivocal proof backed by French and Swedish scientists that the Russian opposition leader was poisoned by Novichok, a military-grade nerve agent.
“I claim that Putin is behind this crime; I don’t have any other versions of what happened,” Navalny told the Der Spiegel news magazine, according to an excerpt of the interview published Thursday.
The 44-year-old anti-corruption campaigner was airlifted from Siberia to Berlin’s Charité hospital two days after falling ill. He was discharged from inpatient care last week and is currently undergoing rehab.
Navalny confirmed reports that he plans to return to Russia after his recovery, telling Der Spiegel: “My job now is to remain the guy who is not afraid. And I’m not afraid!”
European countries have threatened sanctions against Russia over Navalny’s suspected poisoning. EU leaders are scheduled to discuss the poisoning and other foreign affairs issues in Brussels on Thursday and Friday.
Russia has denied any involvement in the incident, saying that Navalny either had a metabolic disease or low blood sugar and complaining that it has not seen any evidence from Germany.
(c) The Moscow Times