Alexei Navalny Flown to Germany; Doctors Say Putin Critic is in Induced Coma

Navalny collapsed on a plane on Thursday after drinking tea allegedly laced with poison.

Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny was en route to Germany early on Saturday to receive medical care after the gravely ill opposition politician's allies said Russian authorities were trying to stop his evacuation.

Navalny, 44, was rushed in an unconscious state to the hospital on Wednesday night after ingesting a poisonous material believed to have been mixed in his morning tea, Kira Yarmysh tweeted on Thursday

Yarmysh added that Navalny is believed to have been poisoned with something mixed in his tea as it was the only thing he consumed on Wednesday morning. According to doctors, the toxin was absorbed much more quickly as the beverage was hot. In a follow-up tweet, she confirmed that Navalny is in a coma and on ventilator support.

Navalny in Induced Coma

Navalny's life was not in immediate danger, he was in an induced coma and his brain was in a stable condition, the medical staff at a hospital in the Siberian city of Omsk said on Friday.

Navalny was delivered to Omsk airport in an ambulance minutes after 0000 GMT and his plane took off two hours later, a Reuters witness said. Kira Yarmysh, Navalny's spokeswoman, said his wife Yulia was also on board.

Alexei Navalny
Alexei Navalny Twitter

"The fight for Alexei's life and health is just beginning and there is a long way to go, but at least the first step has been taken," Yarmysh wrote on Twitter.

Hospital Badly Equipped

Navalny, a long-time opponent of President Vladimir Putin and a campaigner against corruption, collapsed on a plane on Thursday after drinking tea that his allies believe was laced with poison.

German doctors flew in to evacuate Navalny, 44, at the request of his wife and allies who said they feared authorities might try to cover up clues as to how he fell ill and that the hospital treating him was badly equipped.

Medical staff at the Omsk hospital initially said on Friday that while Navalny's condition had improved slightly overnight he was in too unstable a state to be safely transported out of the country.


But late on Friday they said they would not object to him being moved after the German doctors were granted access to Navalny and said they thought he was fit to travel.

A senior doctor at the hospital, Anatoly Kalinichenko, said the hospital could help transport Navalny to the airport and that he would be moved within several hours.

"We have taken the decision that we do not object to him being transferred to a different hospital," Kalinichenko said.

(With Reuters Inputs)