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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Comatose Russian Dissident Visited by Wife in Berlin Hospital

By VOA News August 23, 2020

The wife of Russian dissident Alexei Navalny, who is being treated for suspected poisoning at a Berlin hospital, visited her husband Sunday, according to the Associated Press.

Yulia Navalnaya and an aide did not speak to reporters as they entered the German capital's Charité hospital to see Navalny. He is in an induced coma and breathing with the aid of a ventilator.

Navalny, who was flying to Moscow from Siberia Thursday, fell ill during the flight, prompting the plane to make an emergency landing in Omsk, in Siberia. His aide said Navalny had drunk black tea at an airport cafe.

Supporters of Navalny, a well-known critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, believe the tea was laced with poison.

Navalnaya pushed to have her husband, 44, flown for treatment in Berlin. After his arrival Saturday, hospital spokeswoman Manuela Zingl told AP he would undergo extensive diagnostic tests and that doctors wouldn't comment on his illness or treatment until they were able to evaluate the results. AP's report did not include a timeframe for that.

On Saturday, Russian health authorities, who at first balked at allowing Navalny to be flown to Germany, said tests hadn't shown any poisons in his system.

Before Friday's decision to allow treatment in Germany, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov indicated the government would help facilitate the move and wished Navalny a "speedy recovery."

Peskov said the government would investigate the incident should toxicology reports show Navalny had been poisoned.

The case has attracted international attention.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron expressed concern last week over Navalny's condition.

U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden also weighed in, saying Navalny's "coma after being poisoned" was "unacceptable."

The U.S. Embassy in Moscow indicated it was monitoring the situation.

"If true, the suspected poisoning of Russian oppositionist Aleksey #Navalny represents a grave moment for Russia, and the Russian people deserve to see all those involved held to account. Our thoughts are with his family," said U.S. Embassy spokeswoman Rebecca Ross in a tweet.

Charles Maynes in Moscow contributed to this report.

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