Plane’s ready, but hospital won’t let Navalny go

The Russian hospital treating opposition leader Alexander Navalny refuses his transfer to another hospital. According to the head doctor Navalny is doing a little better, but his condition is not stable enough for him to leave.

The message comes at the moment a plane is waiting at Omsk airport to take him to Germany. The plane has been arranged by a German social organisation.

The Russian opposition leader lies in a coma and fights for his life after he was deliberately poisoned, according to those around him. That poison would have been in the tea he drank just before a flight to Moscow.

According to a spokesman for Navalny, the Kremlin is behind the refusal to let him leave. She calls the decision an “attack on his life” and says the authorities want to buy time so that all traces of the poison disappear from Navalny’s body.

That’s also what Navalny’s wife thinks:

Over the possible presence of poison are conflicting messages. The deputy chief physician says no traces of poison have been found in examinations. He also says that a diagnosis has been made, but that he can’t disclose it yet.

Five possible diagnoses

The head doctor said earlier in the morning that there were five diagnoses possible and that the test results would come within two days.

The Navalny team has another lecture. The police would have said that a dangerous substance has been found in his body. Because it would also be dangerous for people approaching the opposition leader, protective suits would have to be worn. It is not known what substance it would be. There is no independent confirmation of that message.

In a number of Russian cities, sympathizers of Navalny showed their support for him:

The Dutch cabinet is worried about the situation. According to Prime Minister Rutte it is a “sensible initiative” to bring Navalny to Germany. He calls on the Russians to cooperate. He also wants a thorough investigation into what happened: “There are signs that it may be poisoning, but I haven’t been to Omsk. This has to be investigated to the bottom.”

Rutte calls Navalny “a very brave man, who’s had the guts to turn against Putin in the Russian system for over a decade now.”

EU President Charles Michel expressed his concerns in a telephone conversation with Putin. The UNHCR is also concerned about the situation in Navalny. “It is very important that he receives the care he needs for his recovery,” says a spokesman.