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Russian opposition figure Alexey Navalny tells Germany’s ‘Der Spiegel’ he believes Kremlin was behind his alleged poisoning

Russian opposition figure Alexey Navalny tells Germany’s ‘Der Spiegel’ he believes Kremlin was behind his alleged poisoning
Russian anti-corruption campaigner Alexey Navalny has accused President Vladimir Putin of organizing his alleged poisoning in August, which led to the activist being hospitalized in Siberia, before being airlifted to Germany.

Speaking to Berlin’s Der Spiegel, the Moscow protest leader said he believed there was no other possible cause of his illness. Navalny first became sick on a flight from Tomsk to Moscow in August, which led to an emergency landing in Omsk.

After two days, he was transferred to the German capital at the request of his family and associates. Last month, officials there declared that he had been targeted with the nerve agent 'Novichok.'

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“I assert that Putin was behind the crime, and I have no other explanation for what happened,” he told the magazine. Navalny added that, despite the apparent attempt on his life, he wants to return to Russia.

“My job now is to remain the guy who isn’t afraid. And I’m not afraid! When my hands shake, it’s not from fear – it’s from this stuff (the poison),” he explained. “I would not give Putin the gift of not returning to Russia.”

Throughout the opposition figure’s recovery, the Kremlin has issued various statements wishing him well. In Russia, a pre-investigation check is underway into the possible poisoning, but a criminal case has not yet been initiated. Authorities have pointed out that Navalny’s team moved some key evidence to Germany and insist that Berlin has not been cooperative in providing results from toxicology tests. The doctors who first treated Navalny in Siberia claim they found no evidence of poison.

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In the interview, Navalny expressed his “tremendous gratitude to all Germans,” saying that the country’s politicians and Chancellor Angela Merkel saved his life. Der Spiegel did not mention the first responders in Siberia in the extract published on Thursday morning.

“I know it sounds a bit over the top, but Germany has become a special country for me,” Navalny said. Referring to his private meeting with Merkel, at the Charité clinic, he said: “I was impressed by the detail she knows about Russia and my case.”

Notably, when asked whether he thinks Germany should halt the completion of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, Navalny refused to answer. “That’s Germany’s business. Decide for yourself!”

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