Poisoned Vladimir Putin critic Alexei Navalny vows to return to Russia

Poisoned Vladimir Putin foe Alexei Navalny has vowed to return to Russia, his spokeswoman has confirmed.

The opposition figure posted a picture on Instagram for the first time since he was poisoned with deadly Novichok and his spokeswoman has said he will go back to his home country despite any danger he might face.

Kira Yarmysh wrote on Twitter: “It’s puzzling to me why anyone should think otherwise.

“All morning journalists have been writing to me and asking, is it true that Alexei plans to return to Russia?

“Again I can confirm to everyone: no other options were ever considered.”

Mr Navalny collapsed on a flight to Russian capital Moscow from the Siberian city of Tomsk.



Tests show he was poisoned with the nerve agent Novichok, the same one used on Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury, Wiltshire, in March 2018.

He was transferred to the Charité hospital in the German capital Berlin, and his team alleges he was poisoned on the orders of Russian President Mr Putin.

The Kremlin denies any involvement.



Mr Navalny’s plans to return to Russia were revealed shortly after he posted a video to Instagram in his first public appearance since the poisoning.

Addressing his 1.7 million followers, the Putin critic said: “Hi, this is Navalny. I have been missing you. I still can’t do much, but yesterday I managed to breathe on my own for the entire day.

“Just on my own, no extra help, not even a valve in my throat. I liked it very much. It’s a remarkable process that is underestimated by many. Strongly recommended.”



There is a modest police presence outside the hospital where Mr Navalny is being treated. There are two armed officers by one entrance and a police van that has been stationed outside for days.

The Kremlin has ruled out a meeting between Mr Navalny and President Putin after the opposition figure recovers.

Spokesman Dimitry Peskov said: “We do not see the need for such a meeting, so I believe that such a meeting will not take place.”

A number of world leaders have spoken out about the attack, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron.

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