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Doctor at state-run hospital claims "no poisons" found in Russian opposition leader

Kremlin critic hospitalized after suspected poisoning
Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny hospitalized after suspected poisoning 01:32

Omsk, Russia — Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny's life is being put at risk by Russian doctors refusing to let him be moved from the Siberian hospital where he's being treated for suspected poisoning, his spokeswoman charged on Friday. A senior doctor at the facility claimed, meanwhile, that "no poison" was found in Navalny's body, and their preliminary diagnosis was that he suffered from a sudden drop in blood sugar.   

Hospital officials have not allowed the harsh critic of President Vladimir Putin to be seen by his family or one of his own doctors who came to the facility. 

"The chief doctor stated that Navalny is not transportable. Condition is unstable," his spokeswoman Kira Yarmysh said on Twitter. "The ban on transporting Alexei is a direct threat to his life. It is deadly to remain in the Omsk hospital without equipment or a diagnosis." 

Deputy head doctor at the state-run Omsk hospital Anatoly Kalinichenko said in a video statement Friday that "no poisons or traces of their presence in the body have been detected... We do not believe that the patient has suffered poisoning."  

Alexander Murakhovsky, the senior doctor at the hospital, said later in a video statement the preliminary diagnosis was that Navalny had suffered a "a sudden drop in blood sugar" caused by an unspecified "metabolic disorder," according to Russia's RIA Novosti news agency.     

Murakhovsky said many legal questions would need to be addressed before Navalny could be moved out of Russia. He said leading doctors had been flown in from Moscow to aid in Navalny's care.

People gather to show support for Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny in Saint Petersburg
A woman at a gathering to show support for Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, in St. Petersburg, Russia, on August 20, 2020. IGOR RUSSAK/REUTERS

An aircraft with German specialists and equipment landed at Omsk airport early Friday ready to take Navalny to a clinic in Berlin. A close associate of Navalny, Leonid Volkov, said German doctors got access to him after initially being denied, The Associated Press reported. 

Yulia Navalnaya, who is Navalny's wife and submitted a request for a transfer to Putin on Friday, said the specialists were brought into the facility via a back door, in secrecy. She said hospital staff and men she thought were law enforcement operatives did not allow her to talk to the specialists. 

"I was forcibly kicked out in a rude manner," she said, the AP reported. "This is an appalling situation. They are not letting us take Alexei. We believe that clearly something is being hidden from us."  

The Challenger 12:44

Navalny, a 44-year-old lawyer and anti-corruption campaigner who is among Putin's fiercest critics, was hospitalized in Omsk Thursday after he lost consciousness on a flight and the plane made an emergency landing.

Doctors said they were working to save his life after he went into a coma and was put on a ventilator in intensive care. His supporters believe he was poisoned because of his political activities.

On Thursday, President Trump said the U.S. government was still looking into the reports on Navalny, and that he expected Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to report to him on it soon.

"He's a very courageous man. He is a very courageous politician to have stood up to Putin inside Russia, and our thoughts and our prayers are with him and his family," Mr. Trump's national security adviser Robert O'Brien told Fox News on Thursday. "It's extraordinarily concerning and if the Russians were behind this ... it's something that we're going to factor into how we deal with the Russians going forward."

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