‘Poisoned’ Navalny leaves hospital in Siberia to be airlifted to Germany

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who is in a coma after a suspected poisoning, has left a hospital in Siberia and is believed to be on his way to an airport to be airlifted to Germany.

The prominent critic of President Vladimir Putin is on a ventilator after drinking tea that his supporters believe was laced with poison.

Russian doctors earlier gave Mr Navalny permission to leave the country for treatment, in a sudden reversal that came after a day of wrangling over his condition and medical care.

The deputy chief doctor of the Omsk hospital in Siberia where he was being treated said medics had now granted permission for his transfer to Germany

Anatoly Kalinichenko said doctors had decided that “we don’t oppose his transfer to another hospital”.

He said Mr Navalny‘s condition had “stabilised” but that his wife and brother “took the risks on themselves” for his transfer.

The 44-year-old’s spokeswoman, Kira Yarmysh, indicated the emergency medical plane transporting him would leave at around 6am local time (1am UK time).

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She previously welcomed the news Russian officials were set to reverse their decision.

Initially the doctors in Omsk had said Mr Navalny was too unstable to be moved, even after a plane with German specialists arrived.

Mr Navalny’s supporters said the doctors were stalling until any poison in his system would no longer be traceable but a senior doctor in Omsk said they did not believe he was poisoned.

The German doctors later examined Mr Navalny and said he was fit to be transported, according to Cinema For Peace, a charity that has organised the plane to bring him to Berlin.

Jaka Bizilj, a film producer in the group, said: “I understand he’s still unconscious, but they’re used to such special assignments and they say very clearly he can fly and they want to fly him.”

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