Russian opposition leader in coma after alleged poisoning

Fierce Kremlin critic and opposition leader Alexei Navalny is in a coma as doctors fight for his life after he was poisoned Thursday morning, his spokesperson said.

The 44-year-old foe of Russia’s President Vladimir Putin felt unwell on a flight back to Moscow from Tomsk, a city in Siberia, Kira Yarmysh said on Twitter.

“The plane made an emergency landing in Omsk. Alexei has a toxic poisoning,” Yarmysh tweeted.

Navalny is said to be unconscious and was placed on a ventilator in an intensive care unit.

Yarmysh did not say who she believed may have poisoned Navalny, but said police had been called to the hospital.

The politician is in a grave but stable condition, hospital representative Anatoly Kalinichenko, deputy chief physician at the Omsk Emergency Hospital No. 1., said in a video shared by Yarmysh on Twitter.

Kalinichenko said all possible reasons for Navalny’s sudden illness were being looked at, including poisoning.

“Doctors are really dealing with saving his life right now,” Kalinichenko added at a later briefing with reporters.

Yarmysh told Russian radio station Echo of Moscow there are tests being conducted to determine the nature of the toxin used. She said Navalny only had a black tea at an airport coffee shop before getting on the plane in the morning, and they believe that’s how he could have been poisoned.

She said she was sure it was “an intentional poisoning.”

Related: Putin throws military parade

24 PHOTOSPutin throws military paradeSee GalleryPutin throws military paradeRussian President Vladimir Putin gives a speech during a military parade, which marks the 75th anniversary of the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany in World War Two, at Red Square in Moscow on June 24, 2020. – The parade, usually held on May 9, was postponed this year because of the coronavirus pandemic. (Photo by Alexey NIKOLSKY / SPUTNIK / AFP) (Photo by ALEXEY NIKOLSKY/SPUTNIK/AFP via Getty Images)MOSCOW, RUSSIA – JUNE 24, 2020: Servicemen take part in a Victory Day military parade in Red Square marking the 75th anniversary of the victory in World War II. Victory Day parades across Russia have been postponed from 9 May to 24 June due to restrictions imposed to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. Sergei Bobylev/TASS (Photo by Sergei Bobylev\TASS via Getty Images)MOSCOW, RUSSIA – JUNE 24, 2020: Servicemen take part in a Victory Day military parade in Red Square marking the 75th anniversary of the victory in World War II. Victory Day parades across Russia have been postponed from 9 May to 24 June due to restrictions imposed to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. Sergei Bobylev/TASS (Photo by Sergei Bobylev\TASS via Getty Images)Russian President Vladimir Putin and guests observe a minute of silence during a military parade, which marks the 75th anniversary of the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany in World War Two, at Red Square in Moscow on June 24, 2020. – The parade, usually held on May 9, was postponed this year because of the coronavirus pandemic. (Photo by Alexey NIKOLSKY / SPUTNIK / AFP) (Photo by ALEXEY NIKOLSKY/SPUTNIK/AFP via Getty Images)YUZHNO-SAKHALINSK, RUSSIA – JUNE 24, 2020: Russian female soldiers march in formation during a Victory Day military parade marking the 75th anniversary of the victory in World War II, in the city of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, on Sakhalin, in Russias Far East. Victory Day parades across Russia have been postponed from 9 May to 24 June due to restrictions imposed to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. Sergei Krasnoukhov/TASS (Photo by Sergei Krasnoukhov\TASS via Getty Images)MOSCOW, RUSSIA – JUNE 24, 2020: Chinese servicemen march in formation during a Victory Day military parade in Red Square marking the 75th anniversary of the victory in World War II. Victory Day parades across Russia have been postponed from 9 May to 24 June due to restrictions imposed to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. Sergei Bobylev/TASS (Photo by Sergei Bobylev\TASS via Getty Images)YUZHNO-SAKHALINSK, RUSSIA – JUNE 24, 2020: Russian soldiers stand in formation during a Victory Day military parade marking the 75th anniversary of the victory in World War II, in the city of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, on Sakhalin, in Russias Far East. Victory Day parades across Russia have been postponed from 9 May to 24 June due to restrictions imposed to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. Sergei Krasnoukhov/TASS (Photo by Sergei Krasnoukhov\TASS via Getty Images)MOSCOW, RUSSIA – JUNE 24, 2020: Servicewomen take part in a Victory Day military parade in Red Square marking the 75th anniversary of the victory in World War II. Victory Day parades across Russia have been postponed from 9 May to 24 June due to restrictions imposed to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. Sergei Bobylev/TASS (Photo by Sergei Bobylev\TASS via Getty Images)MOSCOW, RUSSIA – JUNE 24, 2020: Servicewomen march in formation during a Victory Day military parade in Red Square marking the 75th anniversary of the victory in World War II. Victory Day parades across Russia have been postponed from 9 May to 24 June due to restrictions imposed to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. Sergei Bobylev/TASS (Photo by Sergei Bobylev\TASS via Getty Images)MOSCOW, RUSSIA – JUNE 24: MiG-29 short-range jet fighter aircrafts perform during Victory Day in Red Square in Moscow, Russia on June 24, 2020. Victory Day parades, commemorating the 75th anniversary of the victory in World War II, have been postponed from 9 May to 24 June due to restrictions imposed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus (Covid-19) in the country. (Photo by Sefa Karacan/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)MOSCOW, RUSSIA – JUNE 24, 2020: A serviceman holds up a banner during a Victory Day military parade in Red Square marking the 75th anniversary of the victory in World War II. Victory Day parades across Russia have been postponed from 9 May to 24 June due to restrictions imposed to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. Sergei Bobylev/TASS (Photo by Sergei Bobylev\TASS via Getty Images)YUZHNO-SAKHALINSK, RUSSIA – JUNE 24, 2020: A WWII veteran attends a Victory Day military parade marking the 75th anniversary of the victory in World War II, in the city of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, on Sakhalin, in Russias Far East. Victory Day parades across Russia have been postponed from 9 May to 24 June due to restrictions imposed to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. Sergei Krasnoukhov/TASS (Photo by Sergei Krasnoukhov\TASS via Getty Images)MOSCOW, RUSSIA – JUNE 24, 2020: Pantsir-S surface-to-air missile and anti-aicraft artillery systems take part in a Victory Day military parade in Red Square marking the 75th anniversary of the victory in World War II. Victory Day parades across Russia have been postponed from 9 May to 24 June due to restrictions imposed to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. Sergei Bobylev/TASS (Photo by Sergei Bobylev\TASS via Getty Images)MOSCOW, RUSSIA – JUNE 24, 2020: Servicemen take part in a Victory Day military parade in Red Square marking the 75th anniversary of the victory in World War II. Victory Day parades across Russia have been postponed from 9 May to 24 June due to restrictions imposed to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. Sergei Bobylev/TASS (Photo by Sergei Bobylev\TASS via Getty Images)YUZHNO-SAKHALINSK, RUSSIA – JUNE 24, 2020: Russian soldiers are seen during a Victory Day military parade marking the 75th anniversary of the victory in World War II, in the city of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, on Sakhalin, in Russias Far East. Victory Day parades across Russia have been postponed from 9 May to 24 June due to restrictions imposed to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. Sergei Krasnoukhov/TASS (Photo by Sergei Krasnoukhov\TASS via Getty Images)MOSCOW, RUSSIA – JUNE 24, 2020: Servicemen march in formation during a Victory Day military parade in Red Square marking the 75th anniversary of the victory in World War II. Victory Day parades across Russia have been postponed from 9 May to 24 June due to restrictions imposed to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. Sergei Bobylev/TASS (Photo by Sergei Bobylev\TASS via Getty Images)YUZHNO-SAKHALINSK, RUSSIA – JUNE 24, 2020: A WWII veteran attends a Victory Day military parade marking the 75th anniversary of the victory in World War II, in the city of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, on Sakhalin, in Russias Far East. Victory Day parades across Russia have been postponed from 9 May to 24 June due to restrictions imposed to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. Sergei Krasnoukhov/TASS (Photo by Sergei Krasnoukhov\TASS via Getty Images)Russian President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu during a military parade, which marks the 75th anniversary of the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany in World War Two, at Red Square in Moscow on June 24, 2020. – The parade, usually held on May 9, was postponed this year because of the coronavirus pandemic. (Photo by Alexey NIKOLSKY / SPUTNIK / AFP) (Photo by ALEXEY NIKOLSKY/SPUTNIK/AFP via Getty Images)MOSCOW, RUSSIA – JUNE 24: A marching band during a Victory Day military parade in Red Square marking the 75th anniversary of the victory in World War II, on June 24, 2020 in Moscow, Russia. The 75th-anniversary marks the end of the Great Patriotic War when the Nazi’s capitulated to the then Soviet Union.(Photo by Ramil Sitdikov – Host Photo Agency via Getty Images )MOSCOW, RUSSIA – JUNE 24: A veteran arrives for the Victory Day military parade in Red Square marking the 75th anniversary of the victory in World War II, on June 24, 2020 in Moscow, Russia. The 75th-anniversary marks the end of the Great Patriotic War when the Nazi’s capitulated to the then Soviet Union.(Photo by Ramil Sitdikov – Host Photo Agency via Getty Images )MOSCOW, RUSSIA – JUNE 24: A color guard detachment marches3 during a Victory Day military parade in Red Square marking the 75th anniversary of the victory in World War II, on June 24, 2020 in Moscow, Russia. The 75th-anniversary marks the end of the Great Patriotic War when the Nazi’s capitulated to the then Soviet Union.(Photo by Ramil Sitdikov – Host Photo Agency via Getty Images )MOSCOW, RUSSIA – JUNE 24: Young Army Cadets march during a Victory Day military parade in Red Square marking the 75th anniversary of the victory in World War II, on June 24, 2020 in Moscow, Russia. The 75th-anniversary marks the end of the Great Patriotic War when the Nazi’s capitulated to the then Soviet Union.(Photo by Ramil Sitdikov – Host Photo Agency via Getty Images )Russian President Vladimir Putin observes a minute of silence during a military parade, which marks the 75th anniversary of the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany in World War Two, at Red Square in Moscow on June 24, 2020. – The parade, usually held on May 9, was postponed this year because of the coronavirus pandemic. (Photo by Alexey NIKOLSKY / SPUTNIK / AFP) (Photo by ALEXEY NIKOLSKY/SPUTNIK/AFP via Getty Images)MOSCOW, RUSSIA – JUNE 24: Russian President Vladimir Putin attends Victory Day in Red Square in Moscow, Russia on June 24, 2020. Victory Day parades, commemorating the 75th anniversary of the victory in World War II, have been postponed from 9 May to 24 June due to restrictions imposed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus (Covid-19) in the country. (Photo by Sefa Karacan/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)Up Next

See Gallery

“A year ago, he was poisoned in a prison, and I am sure the same thing happened here,” she told the station. “It’s different symptoms, obviously a different toxin, but obviously this was done to him intentionally.”

Last year, Navalny was rushed to a hospital from prison where he was serving a sentence following an administrative arrest, with what his team said was suspected poisoning.

Doctors then said he had a severe allergic attack and discharged him back to prison the following day

In 2017, he was attacked by several men who threw antiseptic in his face, damaging one eye.

Pavel Lebedev was on the same plane as Navalny and posted an image of the politician drinking something out of a cup before the flight on his Instagram Stories. NBC News could not confirm that the photo shows the beverage that his spokeswoman believes may have poisoned him.

In a series of videos uploaded to his Instagram, Lebedev said he saw Navalny go to the bathroom after lift-off, and he did not return for a while.

“I heard a commotion and took my headphones off,” he added. “It turned out that there was an emergency landing in Omsk, so I thought someone was feeling ill. Then I turned my head and I saw Alexei lying down.”

Navalny rose to prominence in 2009 with investigations into official corruption and became a protest leader when hundreds of thousands took to the streets across Russia in 2011 to protest electoral fraud.

A few years later, and after several short-term spells in jail, Navalny faced two separate sets of fraud charges, which were viewed as political retribution aimed at stopping him from running for office.

In his only official campaign before his first conviction took effect, Navalny garnered 30 percent of the vote in the race for Moscow mayor in 2013.

Navalny also campaigned to challenge Putin in the 2018 presidential election, but was barred from running.

Navalny’s anti-corruption foundation has conducted in-depth investigations into the highest ranks of Russian political elite, including his most famous investigation into former prime minister and president Dmitry Medvedev.

Last month, he had to shut down the foundation after a financially devastating lawsuit from Yevgeny Prigozhin, a businessman with close ties to the Kremlin.

Russia holds regional elections next month and Navalny and his allies have been preparing for them, trying to increase support for candidates which they back.

Source: Read Full Article