Vladimir Putin has expressed interest in a “thorough and objective investigation of all the circumstances” surrounding Alexey Navalny’s sudden illness, the Russian president said in a phone call on August 26 with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, according to a Kremlin readout of the conversation.
President Putin also stressed his objections to “hasty and unfounded accusations” in connection with “A. Navalny” (as he is identified in the Kremlin’s press release). This would be the first time Putin has ever uttered Navalny’s name aloud in a conversation with another state official. Navalny’s surname has appeared previously in 23 different publications on the Kremlin’s website, but never in remarks by Putin directly.
Alexey Navalny has been in a coma since August 20, following an apparent poisoning. Doctors at the Charité Hospital in Berlin say they’ve found evidence that he was poisoned with a “cholinesterase inhibitor,” though the exact substance responsible for his sudden illness remains unidentified. He is currently receiving atropine — a medication used as an antidote to certain types of nerve-agent and pesticide poisonings.