Russian opposition leader is in a coma, allegedly poisoned by toxic tea

Vyacheslav Gimadi, a lawyer with Navalny’s foundation, said his team was requesting Russia’s Investigative Committee open a criminal probe. “There is no doubt that Navalny was poisoned because of his political stance and activity,” Gimadi tweeted on Thursday. Other unconfirmed social media videos appeared show him lying motionless, being wheeled into an ambulance at the airport.The plane made an emergency landing in the Siberian city of Omsk and Yarmysh said Navalny was admitted to a hospital “in a coma in grave condition.” 

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, center, and Kira Yarmysh, foreground left, pose for a selfie inside a bus on their way to an aircraft at an airport outside Tomsk, a city in Siberia, Russia Thursday, August 20, 2020. Doctors claimed he’d suffered a severe allergic attack and discharged him back to prison the following day. 

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Navalny’s Foundation for Fighting Corruption has worked to expose graft among government officials, including some at the highest level. Spokeswoman Kira Yarmysh said on Twitter that he started feeling unwell on a flight back to Moscow from Siberia, suffering “toxic poisoning.”

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Video posted to social media appeared to show paramedics arriving inside the plane, as someone can be heard moaning loudly off camera. gluchinskiy/AP

While state media quoted some doctors at the hospital as saying his condition had improved and he was stable, Yarmysh said in tweets that his “condition has not changed yet,” and that he remained unconscious without an official diagnosis. Russian opposition leader hospitalized


Like many other opposition politicians in Russia, Navalny has been frequently detained by law enforcement and harassed by pro-Kremlin groups. Petersburg, Russia, August 20, 2020. 

Ivan Petrov/AP

First published on August 20, 2020 / 2:01 AM Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny said to be in coma, allegedly poisoned by toxic tea

Updated on: August 20, 2020 / 2:19 PM

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The Challenger


Moscow — Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was in a coma Thursday at a Siberian hospital after drinking tea laced with poison, according to his representatives.  As CBS News correspondent Roxana Saberi reports, Russian agents have been accused of poisoning a number of Kremlin foes, including a former Russian double agent targeted in England two years ago with the deadly nerve agent Novichok.In a statement released Thursday, the Kremlin wished Navalny a “speedy recovery.”

A protester holds a symbolic cup of tea as he comes to support Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny in front of the building of the Federal Security Service (FSB, Soviet KGB successor) in St.  

Belarus’ authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko accused Navalny last week of organizing unprecedented mass protests against his re-election that have rocked Russia’s ex-Soviet neighbor since August 9. He set up a network of campaign offices across Russia and has since put forward opposition candidates in regional elections, challenging members of Putin’s ruling United Russia party. In the interview with Echo Moskvy, Yarmysh said she believed the suspected poisoning was connected to this year’s regional election campaign. Earlier in the day Navalny’s spokeswoman said he was comatose and on a ventilator after falling ill during a flight. The 44-year-old is a harsh critic of President Vladimir Putin, and he has been the target of years of harassment, including numerous arrests and a previous suspected poisoning. In 2017, he was attacked by several men who threw antiseptic in his face, damaging one eye. “Doctors are saying the toxin was absorbed quicker with hot liquid,” she tweeted, adding that Navalny’s team called police to the hospital. Trending News

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She dismissed suggestions from unidentified Russian government officials that Navalny had merely suffered food poisoning as “complete nonsense.” Yarmysh told the independent Echo Moskvy radio station earlier that Navalny had started sweating on the plane and asked her to talk to him so that he could “focus on the sound of a voice.” She said he then went to the bathroom and lost consciousness. Russian doctors gave conflicting information on his condition, claiming his was stable but his life was still at risk. An ambulance is parked outside a hospital intensive care unit where Alexei Navalny is hospitalized in Omsk, Russia, August 20, 2020. 

Evgeniy Sofiychuk/AP

Other opposition figures were quick to suggest Kremlin involvement. 

“We are sure that the only people that have the capability to target Navalny or myself are Russian security services with definite clearance from Russia’s political leadership,” Pyotr Verzilov, a member of the protest group Pussy Riot, who ended up in intensive care after suspected poisoning in 2018, told The Associated Press. She said there must have been something in tea Navalny drank Thursday morning at the airport, which she said was the only thing he’d consumed before the flight. He did not provide any evidence, and that claim was one of many blaming foreign forces for the unrest. “We believe that Putin definitely is a person who gives that go-ahead in this situation.”Navalny was rushed to a hospital last year from a prison where he was serving a sentence following an administrative arrest, with what his team said was suspected poisoning. Last month, the politician had to shut the foundation after a financially devastating lawsuit from Yevgeny Prigozhin, a businessman with close ties to the Kremlin.The most prominent member of Russia’s opposition, Navalny campaigned to challenge Putin in the 2018 presidential election, but was barred from running.