08:35 GMT25 February 2021
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    PETROPAVLOVSK-KAMCHATSKIY, Russia (Sputnik) - Russia has received Germany’s reply to inquiries on the alleged poisoning of opposition activist Alexey Navalny, but it "contained nothing in substance," according to Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova.

    "I saw the headlines about Germany having answered all the questions of the Russian Federation, and I called our experts who are in charge of this issue. They say: 'Well, certainly, we did receive an answer from the German side; the problem is that, as always, it contained nothing in substance in terms of questions asked,'" Zakharova told the Rossiya 1 channel.

    Navalny fell ill while aboard a domestic flight on 20 August. He was initially treated in the Siberian city of Omsk, where the plane had to urgently land. Local doctors suggested metabolic malfunctions as main diagnosis and said there were no traces of poison in his system. Two days later, he was flown to the Charite hospital in Berlin for further treatment. Later, the German government claimed to have evidence of his poisoning with a nerve agent from the Novichok group. Laboratories in France and Sweden are said to have backed the conclusion. In September, Navalny was discharged from the hospital.

    Moscow insists that Berlin present the biological materials to corroborate the chemical poisoning, so that it could open a criminal case. Russian authorities have sent several requests for legal assistance to Berlin.

    Navalny, who accuses the Russian leadership of being behind his poisoning, is planning to return home from Berlin on Sunday. The Russian detention authority has said it will seek to detain him until a court can decide whether his suspended sentence should be changed to prison time over his "malicious violations" of probation conditions.

    Maria Zakharova, Alexei Navalny, Germany, Russia
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