UPDATE: 8/21/20 1200 EST Alexei Navalny is now being allowed to leave Russia, to fly via air ambulance to a German hospital for treatment and toxicology testing…
Russian officials have refused an air ambulance from Germany to bring opposition figure and Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny to a foreign hospital for treatment and toxicology tests. Navalny’s associates insist he was poisoned drinking tea on a flight from Omsk, where he was campaigning against local official corruption.
A law recently passed by the Russian State Duma allows only the doctor in charge to decide on a patient’s fate, not the family, or next of kin.
Navalny’s team has pushed for the Kremlin critic to be transferred to a leading European toxicology center, citing a lack of necessary equipment at the regional hospital and a worry that Russian doctors will be pressured by the authorities to withhold details of the cause of his illness. An air ambulance departed from Germany early Friday morning to collect Navalny, but the regional hospital’s head doctor said his condition was unstable and he could not be transferred, according to the Kremlin critic’s spokeswoman Kira Yarmysh, wrote The Moscow Times.
The head of Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation Ivan Zhdanov, who was also at the scene, told journalists that police reported that a “poison” was found in Navalny’s system that is “dangerous to those around him,” but that law enforcement wouldn’t name the substance. Later on Friday morning, the hospital’s deputy chief doctor contradicted this statement, saying that “no trace” of poison had been found in Navalny’s system during tests so far.
“Until now doctors had said that they are ready to authorize transportation. That is why we organized it in the shortest possible time,” Yarmysh wrote on Twitter. “Now, at the last moment, doctors are not giving permission. This decision, of course, was not made by them but by the Kremlin.”
The sudden illness of Russian blogger Alexei Navalny may have been caused by a metabolic disorder, Alexander Murakhovsky, chief of medicine of the Omsk hospital where the blogger is being treated, said on Friday, reported Russian state news agency TASS.
“Today we have some working diagnoses. The main one we are arriving at is the disorder in the carbohydrate balance, that is, a metabolic disorder. It may have been caused by a sudden drop in blood sugar levels,” he said in a comment made public by the press service of the regional Healthcare Ministry.
According to the doctor, Navalny’s condition is considered unstably serious and may become worse during a plane’s takeoff or landing.
Perhaps no one wants an overseas toxicology test to be performed? We don’t know, just guessing…
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