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Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny says he will return to Russia on January 17

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By Euronews, AP
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In this Saturday, July 20, 2019 file photo, Russian opposition activist Alexei Navalny gestures while speaking to a crowd during a political protest in Moscow
In this Saturday, July 20, 2019 file photo, Russian opposition activist Alexei Navalny gestures while speaking to a crowd during a political protest in Moscow   -   Copyright  Pavel Golovkin/Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
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Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny has said that he will return to Russia on January 17 from Germany, where he has been undergoing treatment after being poisoned with a Soviet-era nerve agent.

Navalny, who has blamed the attack on the Kremlin and President Vladimir Putin, said that remaining in Germany was never an option for him and that he would "return home on a victory flight."

Navalny fell into a coma while aboard a domestic flight from Siberia to Moscow on August 20 and was transferred from a hospital in Siberia to a Berlin hospital two days later.

Labs in Germany, France, and Sweden, and tests by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, established that he was exposed to a Soviet-era Novichok nerve agent.

The Kremlin has denied any involvement in the attack and called on German doctors to provide proof that he was poisoned.

Navalny has been an outspoken critic of Putin and the Kremlin for years, and Russian authorities have long targetted him with spurious allegations of fraud and corruption. As recently as this week, Russia's prison service called for Navalny to be jailed for breaching the terms of a suspended prison sentence.

He was convicted in 2014 on charges of embezzlement and money-laundering, charges that he has claimed are politically-motivated.

His spokesperson, Kira Yarmysh, said on Twitter that the latest attempt to have Navalny jailed has been launched in order to persuade him not to return home.

“They seem to be in hysterics wondering what else to do to prevent Navalny from returning to Russia,” she said.