18:23 GMT28 November 2020
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    Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny has been undergoing treatment in Berlin after his alleged poisoning on 20 August, which caused him to collapse aboard a Moscow-bound plane.

    MOSCOW, October 22 (Sputnik) - The Russian authorities would have never let Alexey Navalny leave for treatment in Germany if they pursued poisoning him, especially given his travel restrictions under a criminal case, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday.

    "If the authorities wanted to poison him, they would have not let him go to Germany for treatment, would they? As soon as the wife of this citizen sent me a request, I immediately asked prosecutors to check if he could go abroad for treatment. They could reject him because he was under court-imposed travel restrictions related to a criminal case against him. I immediately asked the Office of the Prosecutor General to let him do that — and he left," Putin said while taking the floor at the Valdai Discussion Club.

    The president reiterated the Russian Prosecutor General Office's call on the German partners to make the case materials, including biological materials, available to Moscow so that a formal investigation into the incident could be launched.

    "Moreover, I have offered in a conversation with one of the European leaders to send our experts to Germany so that they could work together with French, German and Swedish experts on the ground and acquire materials that could be used for launching a criminal case and investigating it if it is indeed a crime. But they do not give us anything," Putin said.

    Navalny fell gravely ill while on a flight from Siberia to Moscow on 20 August. After an emergency landing, he was rushed to a hospital in the Siberian city of Omsk, where Russian doctors waged a struggle for his life, as he went into a coma and was put on a lung ventilator. Two days later, Navalny was transported to the Berlin-based Charite clinic for further treatment.

    Berlin has since claimed that the politician's condition was the result of poisoning by a military-grade nerve agent from the Novichok group. However, the Russian ministry of foreign affairs lamented that no proofs were shared with them by the German authorities.

    President Vladimir Putin stressed during a phone conversation with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron last month that groundless accusations against Moscow regarding the situation around Navalny were unacceptable, and that Germany needed to share its case materials with Russia so that the situation could be clarified.

    In October, the EU unveiled its Navalny sanctions list, which includes six high-level Russian officials and one research institute over their purported role in the alleged poisoning of the Russian opposition figure. The move has been blasted by the Kremlin as the one that "lacks logic" and a "deliberately unfriendly" gesture toward Moscow.


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    Charite Hospital, Berlin, plane, Moscow, nerve agent, Novichok, poisoning, Alexei Navalny
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