This story is developing…
Russian opposition leader, and anti-corruption activist, Alexei Navalny is in a coma in Siberia after reportedly being poisoned. He is in critical condition according to comments from his spokesman in the Russian press.
A hospital representative in the Siberian city of Omsk told journalists that the Kremlin critic is connected to a ventilator and in critical condition. The representative said that all necessary tests were being taken, reported The Moscow Times.
“We suspect Alexei was poisoned with something mixed into his tea. It was the only thing he drank all morning,” Navalny’s spokeswoman Kira Yarmish wrote on Twitter Thursday morning. “Doctors said that the toxin was absorbed more quickly through hot liquid.”
Navalny has been repeatedly attacked, poisoned, and arrested in the last several years as Russian elites attempt to prevent him from growing more popular among the population. He was prevented from running for president in the last election due to criminal charges most analysts believe were politically motivated.
Navalny fell ill during a flight from the Siberian city of Tomsk to Moscow. A photo surfaced Thursday morning of Navalny drinking a cup of tea in an airport cafe, before another video circling on social media showed him being stretchered off the plane in obvious pain when it made an emergency landing in Omsk.
Navalny’s personal doctor Anastasiya Vasiliyeva wrote on Twitter that the hospital was refusing to communicate with her, but that Navalny’s pupils were showing reactions. She said she was on her way to Omsk, wrote The Moscow Times.
Navalny was returning to the Russian capital after touring Siberia in support of independent candidates running in local elections next month. On Wednesday, he posted a photo on Instagram from the city of Tomsk with the caption: “Crooks wont kick themselves out of the city parliament!”
Yarmysh told the Echo Moskvy radio station that Navalny was sweating on the plane and asked her to talk to him so that he could “focus on the sound of a voice”. He then went to the toilet and lost consciousness, wrote Al Jazeera.
“Alexei is still unconscious. He was put under ventilator. Police were called to the hospital on our demand,” said Yarmysh.
The Omsk airport confirmed that the airliner landed because a passenger felt unwell, reported Russian state news agency TASS.
“Yes, Sibir flight 2614 from Tomsk to [Moscow’s] Domodedovo has landed, [because] a passenger felt bad. An ambulance has arrived,” airport spokeswoman Galina Gavrish said, adding that she did not know the identity of the passenger.
Russian blogger Alexei Navalny who was earlier taken to the intensive care unit of a hospital in Omsk after he felt unwell on a flight from Tomsk to Moscow is in serious condition, the hospital’s chief physician told TASS.
“He is in serious condition,” Alexander Murakhovsky said.
The Kremlin for years has tried to marginalize Navalny. His video outlining the alleged corruption and massive ill-gotten wealth of former Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev especially angered Russian elites.
- Siberian Retiree Survives Hand-To-Paw Fight With Brown Bear Outside City
- Yes, Russia Could Work With US Against China