Jan. 17 (UPI) — Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was detained upon landing in Moscow on Sunday after recovering from a poisoning that left him in a coma.
Kira Yarmysh, a spokeswoman for Navalny, announced on Twitter he was detained by police officers at the border without explanation upon arriving at Sheremetyevo airport.
“The lawyer was not allowed to go with him and they are going to be kept under arrest pending trial,” she said.
Speaking to journalists after landing Navalny described Sunday as “the best day in the past five months.”
“Everyone is asking me if I’m scared. I am not afraid,” he said. “I feel completely fine walking towards the border control. I know that I will leave and go home because I’m right and all the criminal cases against me are fabricated.”
Navalny posted a video of him seated on the plane next to his wife, Yulia Navalnaya, as he returned to Russia from Germany, where he has been in recovery for several months despite threats from the government to arrest him when he arrives.
“We’re flying home,” the caption read.
Russia’s federal prison service released a statement on Thursday accusing Navalny, who has been jailed multiple times for leading protests against Russian President Vladimir Putin, of “malicious violations” of a suspended prison sentence from 2014 and pledging to arrest him.
“The Federal Penitentiary Service of Russia in Moscow is obliged to take all actions to detain the violator A.A. Navalny pending a court decision to replace the suspended sentence with a real one,” it said.
Navalny became ill in August while on a flight from Siberia to Moscow and ultimately fell into a coma. Doctors later said he’d been poisoned with the Soviet-era nerve agent Novichok.
He later was transferred to Berlin’s Charite hospital after the doctors at the Siberian hospital where he was first taken said they could find “no trace” of poison in his system, while hesitating to have him transferred.
Last month, Navalny said he was able to dupe a member of Russia’s FSB spy agency into revealing that they were behind the poisoning but the Kremlin dismissed his claims.