Doctors treating Putin's top critic after a suspected poisoning won't let him leave Russia for treatment, his aide says
- Doctors treating Alexei Navalny, an outspoken critic of President Vladimir Putin, are preventing him from leaving Russia for specialist care, an aide said.
- Navalny fell ill on a flight Thursday and was taken to a hospital in Omsk, Siberia, after an emergency landing. Kira Yarmish, his press secretary, said he was poisoned.
- On Friday, Navalny's doctors banned him from flying to Germany for specialist attention. "We can't allow him to be transported," the chief physician at the hospital said. "The worst could happen."
- Yarmish said that authorities are stalling, hoping to let all trace of the poison leave his bloodstream.
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Doctors treating Alexei Navalny, a prominent critic of President Vladimir Putin, after a suspected poisoning attempt are not letting him leave Russia for specialist treatment, his press secretary has said.
On Thursday, Navalny fell ill on a flight to Moscow, and was taken to the hospital following an emergency landing in Omsk, Siberia.
A plane organized by the Berlin-based Cinema For Peace Foundation landed in Omsk at around 12 p.m. local time on Friday to take Navalny to the Berlin Charité hospital, according to Deutsche Welle.
But doctors treating Navalny at the Omsk Emergency Hospital No. 1 are refusing to let him be moved.
"We can't allow him to be transported under the care of his relatives if the patient's condition elicits concern," Alexander Murakhovskiy, chief physician at the hospital, told a press conference on Friday.
"Anything could happen. Even the worst could happen."
Navalny's team believes that the Kremlin is stalling to ensure that any trace of a poison disappears from his bloodstream.
"The ban on the transportation of Navalny is an attempt on his life, which is now being carried out by doctors and the deceitful authorities that sanctioned it," Kira Yarmish wrote on Twitter.
"The ban on the transportation of Navalny is only needed to stall for time and wait until the poison in his body can no longer be traced," she wrote in a second tweet.
On Friday, deputy chief doctor Anatoly Kalinichenko, told reporters that there was no poison in Navalny's body.
The state-run TASS news agency, quoting a Russian law enforcement source, also reported on Friday that there was no evidence of poison in Navalny's blood stream.
Doctors at the hospital are also refusing to let Navalny's personal doctor see his patient, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty's Matthew Luxmoore reported. Navalny's wife was given permission to see him on Thursday after a protracted struggle with doctors, Luxmoore added.
Navalny is Putin's most outspoken critic in Russia, and is regularly jailed for inciting sedition and criticizing the Kremlin.
Several Russian state media outlets have sought to push their own version of events since Thursday, suggesting that Navalny may have fallen ill after a night of heavy drinking.
On Thursday, TASS cited a law enforcement source who suggested Navalny may have poisoned himself.
Putin's spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov, said on Thursday that the Kremlin would consider transferring Navalny to a hospital abroad if it received a formal request.
Peskov added that he wished Navalny a "speedy recovery."
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