Russian opposition leader Navalny posts photo of himself from hospital, pledges to return to Russia

Alexei Navalny posts a photo of himself in a Berlin hospital following his suspected poisoning.
Alexei Navalny posts a photo of himself in a Berlin hospital following his suspected poisoning. Copyright AFP PHOTO / INSTAGRAM ACCOUNT @NAVALNY
By Lauren Chadwick
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Navalny wrote on social media that he was breathing on his own after being poisoned in late August.


Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny said that he was breathing on his own in his first statement since his suspected poisoning.

"I still can hardly do anything, but yesterday I was able to breathe on my own all day," Navalny said on Instagram where he posted a picture of himself in a Berlin hospital.

"I did not use any outside help, not even a valve in my throat. I enjoyed it very much. An amazing process, underestimated by many," Navalny wrote in the post.

It comes a day after the Charité hospital said that his condition has significantly improved and that he was able to leave his bed for short periods of time.

His spokeswoman, Kira Yarmysh, also said on Tuesday that Navalny planned to return to Russia.

"Once again I confirm to everyone: no other options have ever been considered," she wrote on Twitter.

Navalny, the main opposition figure to Russia's Vladimir Putin, was poisoned with Novichok, a Soviet-era nerve agent, according to several European laboratory analyses.

German officials first confirmed the poisoning after he was flown to Berlin in late August. Authorities announced yesterday that specialist laboratories in France and Sweden had also confirmed the finding.

Navalny, who is one of Putin's most visible opponents, first fell ill on a domestic flight in Russia. Berlin has urged Russia to investigate the case.

The opposition leader was in an induced coma in Berlin for over a week before hospital officials took him out of it.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel had called the poisoning "shocking" and said it was "an attempt to silence him" but the Kremlin has rejected the allegations, stating they haven't seen evidence of poisoning.

Russian authorities reiterated on Tuesday that they have yet to receive any information from Germany, 

"We regard this position of Germany as a pretext indicating its reluctance to establish the truth in the case of Alexei Navalny," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in a statement.

She added that without the documents and medical samples they requested, Moscow will not be able to complete a "pre-investigation probe" which is "a necessary precondition for initiating criminal proceedings in this case, because no evidence of poisoning was found by doctors during the patient's examination in Omsk".

Over the weekend, Russians headed to the polls for regional elections. Prior to his poisoning, Navalny had encouraged people to vote tactically against the ruling party.

His team counted city council seats in Siberia where he was travelling before his poisoning.

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