'Poisoned' Putin foe Alexei Navalny airlifted in coma for treatment in Germany after Russian docs finally let him leave
VIDEOS show Russian President Vladimir Putin’s foe Alexei Navalny on Saturday being transported—gravely ill— in an ambulance with a police escort to Omsk airport to be flown by air ambulance to Berlin.
Navalny, who is one Putin’s fiercest critics, left Russia in a coma after the president gave the nod to doctors to allow him to travel.
Earlier, the Kremlin was accused of blocking Navalny’s transport to Berlin to prevent Western doctors from identifying toxins that he was suspected of being poisoned with.
A video at a hospital in Omsk showed an ambulance with its rear doors open as medics wearing masks loaded an unconscious Navalny inside.
More footage showed the ambulance entering Omsk airport for a flight to Berlin that would take about five and a half hours.
A private air ambulance chartered by German NGO Cinema for Peace flew Navalny to Berlin's Charite hospital for treatment.
Navalny’s family members were told that they had to accept responsibility for any outcome that could result from moving the corruption investigator to Germany.
The politician’s 44-year-old wife Yulia made an emotional written plea to Putin to allow Navalny to travel.
Senior doctor Anatoly Kalinichenko, who hours earlier had said it was not safe to allow Navalny to travel due to his unstable condition, then said, “We have taken the decision that we do not object to him being transferred to a different hospital.”
Doctors also denied that Navalny, 44, had been poisoned.
A chief doctor at the hospital, Alexander Murakhovsky, said in a video published by a news outlet in Omsk that Navalny most likely suffered a metabolic disorder lost consciousness due to a drop in blood sugar.
Meanwhile, Dr Anastasia Vasilyeva, who is familiar with Navalny, said a metabolic disorder diagnosis has nothing to do with his ailment and that he could have been poisoned.
Traces of industrial chemical substances were found on Navalny’s clothes and fingers.
An ambulance waited at Omsk airport for Navalny for more than 20 hours.
The Kremlin denied that its opposition to transferring Navalny was politically motivated, with spokesman Dmitry Peskov claiming the it was for medical reasons.
But notably, Russia reversed its stance after mounting pressure.
Navalny became ill on Thursday while flying to Moscow from the Siberian city of Tomsk, where he met allies ahead of regional elections taking place next month.
The plane made an emergency landing in Omsk and he was rushed unconscious to a hospital.
Specialist Russian doctors flew in from Moscow as Navalny came in danger of losing his life.
Navalny campaigned to run against Putin in the 2018 presidential election but was ultimately prohibited from participating.
After that, Navalny began backing opposition candidates in regional elections and challenging officials of United Russia, which is the ruling party.
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