German Chancellor Angela Merkel visited Alexei Navalny in hospital to lend her support as he recovered from Novichok poisoning
- Merkel visited Navalny during his 32-day stay in the Charite hospital in Berlin
- Her official spokesperson declined to say what was discussed in the meeting
- Putin’s rival confirmed the visit saying she had ‘a conversation with the family’
German Chancellor Angela Merkel paid a personal visit to Putin’s arch-rival and critic Alexei Navalny in a Berlin hospital where he was being treated for a failed Novichok poisoning.
Merkel visited Navalny during his 32-day stay in the Charite hospital in Berlin, but her official spokesperson Steffen Seibert declined to say how long the meeting lasted nor what was discussed.
Politician Navalny also confirmed the ‘private visit’ in a Tweet saying she had ‘a conversation with the family’.
He wrote: ‘There was a meeting, but one shouldn’t call it secret. Rather, (it was) a private visit and a conversation with the family. I’m very grateful to chancellor Merkel for visiting me in the hospital.’
Merkel has previously dubbed the poisoning an attempted murder and she and other world leaders have demanded that Russia fully investigate the case.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel (left) paid a personal visit to Putin’s arch-rival and critic Alexei Navalny (right after he was discharged) in a Berlin hospital where he was being treated for a failed Novichok poisoning
Merkel has previously dubbed the poisoning an attempted murder and she and other world leaders have demanded that Russia (Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, pictured) fully investigate the case
German magazine Der Spiegel reported Sunday evening, without citing sources, that Merkel had made a secret visit to Navalny when he was at the Charite hospital in Berlin.
It didn’t specify when the visit happened, but Navalny was discharged from the hospital last week.
Navalny spent 32 days in the hospital, 24 of them in intensive care, before doctors deemed his condition had improved sufficiently for him to be discharged.
He will remain in Germany for the time being to continue his rehabilitation, his team said.
Navalny – a politician and corruption investigator who is Russian President Vladimir Putin’s fiercest critic – was flown to Germany two days after falling ill on August 20 on a domestic flight in Russia.
He spent those two days in a coma in a hospital in the Siberian city of Omsk, where Russian doctors said they found no trace of any poisoning.
German chemical weapons experts determined that he was poisoned with the Soviet-era nerve agent Novichok – findings corroborated by labs in France and Sweden.
The nerve agent used in the attack was the same class of poison that Britain said was used on former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury, England, in 2018.
Navalny’s allies accused the Kremlin of involvement in the poisoning, charges that Russian officials have denied.
The news comes just over a month after Navalny fell ill after boarding a flight at Tomsk airport in Russia (pictured left) and had to be rushed off the plane in a coma (right)
Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny and his wife Yulia Navalnaya pose for a picture
Russia has bristled at Merkel’s demands for an investigation, saying that Germany needs to share medical data in the case or compare notes with Russian doctors.
Germany has noted that Russian doctors have their own samples from Navalny since he was in their care for 48 hours.
Germany has also enlisted the Hague-based Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons for technical assistance.
The agency has collected independent samples from Navalny for testing but results have not yet been announced.
The Russian delegation to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons sent a note to Germany last week, demanding ‘comprehensive information on the so-called Navalny case,’ including ‘test results, biological materials and other clinical samples’ to be provided within 10 days.
Germany confirmed receiving the note, but reiterated that ‘Russia already has everything necessary to be able to conduct investigations itself.’
Navalny is recovering from the suspected assassination attempt faster than expected, his close ally and top strategist Leonid Volkov said Sunday.
‘He is doing much better, I would say unexpectedly better,’ Leonid Volkov, Navalny’s chief of staff, told German broadcaster RTL.
‘I think the recovery is really faster than expected, and of course this is good news that makes us very happy.’
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