Navalny Poisoned in Siberia Before Leaving For Plane, Allies Say

Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny was poisoned before he left his hotel in the Siberian city of Tomsk to catch a flight to Moscow, his allies said on Instagram.

Navalny fell victim last month to what German doctors later identified as poisoning by the military nerve agent Novichok. He emerged 10 days ago from a coma in the Berlin hospital, where he’d been flown for treatment.

The Russian politician’s aides posted a video of his hotel room, showing staffers gathering possible evidence, including several water bottles. One of them taken to Germany contained traces of Novichok that allowed Germany to identify it,the Instagram post said.

“Now we understand: it was done before he left his room to go to the airport,” it said.

Germany’s Der Spiegelreported earlier this month that German investigators suspected Navalny drank from the bottle after he was poisoned, leaving traces of the nerve agent.

Read More:Putin, Poison and the Importance of Alexey Navalny: QuickTake

On the day of the attack, some of his allies stayed behind in Tomsk to continue filming the political video they were working on. When they were alerted that he’d suddenly fallen ill, they summoned a lawyer and collected whatever evidence they could from his room.

“We decided to take everything that might somehow hypothetically be of use and give it to the doctors in Germany,” the post said. “That there would be no investigation of the case in Russia was rather clear.”

The case has led to a sharp worsening in relations between Russia and Germany, with Chancellor Angela Merkel calling on Moscow to investigate the attack and threatening to suspend a major gas pipeline project if it doesn’t. The Kremlin says it has no evidence Navalny was poisoned and has so far opened only a preliminary probe.

Navalny plans toreturn to Russia when he recovers, according to his spokeswoman.

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