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Berlin hospital confirms that opposition leader Alexey Navalny was poisoned


The Charite Hospital in Berlin, where Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny is currently being treated, has confirmed that he was poisoned. The specific substance used to poison him has yet to be identified. 

According to a statement from the hospital, clinical evidence points to poisoning with a “cholinesterase inhibitor” — a chemical that prevents the breakdown of neurotransmitters linked to the nervous system.

Navalny remains in an induced coma and is still in serious condition, but is no longer in life-threatening danger, the hospital said. Navalny is currently being treated with atropine — a medication used to treat poisoning from nerve agents.

Doctors added that while the consequences of Navalny’s illness remain unclear, there could be long-term damage, in particular to his nervous system.

The German doctors are in communication with Navalny’s wife, Yulia Navalnaya.

Cholinesterase inhibitors include nerve agents such as the chemical weapon Novichok, which was used to poison former GRU officer Sergey Skripal and his daughter Yulia in 2018.

Navalny has been in a coma since August 20 after becoming violently ill aboard a flight from Tomsk to Moscow. Navalny’s plane made an emergency landing in Omsk, where local doctors treated him for two days, initially refusing to issue the paperwork needed to transfer him to Berlin, arguing that Navalny’s condition was too unstable. Family and coworkers say this delay was deliberate, so the alleged toxins in Navalny’s body could disintegrate, making it impossible to identify the substance apparently used to poison him. 

Previously, physicians in Omsk said they had communicated their findings to Navalny’s family, but his exact diagnosis remained unknown. Health officials in Omsk reported that Navalny’s test results showed no traces of any poison.

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