Russian President Vladimir Putin has stated that he helped ensure opposition figure Alexey Navalny’s medical evacuation to Germany personally.
“Immediately, as soon as the wife of this citizen appealed to me, I instructed the Attorney General’s Office to verify the possibility of taking him abroad for treatment, meaning that they might not have released him because he had restrictions related to a judicial investigation and a criminal case. He had travel restrictions. I immediately asked the Attorney General’s Office for permission to do this. He left,” Putin said.
The Russian president also added that if the “defendant” had been poisoned by the Russian authorities, he wouldn’t have been allowed to go abroad.
Putin also noted that Moscow is ready for international cooperation in the poisoning investigation, and lamented that Germany has ignored requests from Russian law enforcement agencies.
Russian opposition politician and anti-corruption activist Alexey Navalny was on a flight from Tomsk to Moscow when he fell violently ill on August 20. The plane made an emergency landing in Omsk, where he was hospitalized in a coma; two days later he was transferred to Germany for treatment.
On September 2, the German officials confirmed that Navalny was poisoned with a substance from the Novichok group of nerve agents. On September 7, Navalny’s doctors brought him out of his coma. He was discharged from the hospital on September 23 and is still undergoing rehabilitation in Germany. In an interview after his release from hospital, Alexey Navalny maintained that Putin was personally involved in his poisoning.
Alexey Navalny’s poisoning prompted the European Union to sanction six high-level Russian officials and the scientific research institute where Novichok-type nerve agents were developed during the Soviet-period.