Alexei Navalny posts photo to Instagram from Germany hospital

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Sept. 15 (UPI) — Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny is conscious and appears to be recovering at a hospital in Germany.

Navalny posted a photograph Tuesday showing himself and members of his family at the Berlin hospital where he’s been treated after most agree he was poisoned on a flight in Russia last month.

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Navalny, a prominent critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Moscow elite, fell seriously ill and into a coma late last month and was ultimately transferred to Berlin.

“Hi, this is Navalny,” he wrote in the caption to his photo posted to Instagram. “I miss you. I still can hardly do anything, but yesterday I was able to breathe on my own for the whole day. Just myself. I did not use any outside help, not even the simplest valve in my throat.”

The photo is the first showing Navalny’s recovery since he was sickened. Doctors said he came out of his coma last week.

German officials have said Navalny was poisoned with a military-grade nerve agent in the Novichok group, a Soviet-era poison. NATO, Germany and several Western allies have called on Russia to explain the poisoning.

The Kremlin has denied responsibility for Navalny’s illness.

German officials canceled a visit to Berlin by Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov, but spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the cancellation was not related to Navalny.

“Our minister made the decision to cancel the visit because its agenda was considerably reduced and changed by the German side,” Peskov told reporters Tuesday. “I would avoid saying anything about the relations [between Russia and other countries] in general, because we are certain that there are no factors that might have adverse effects or must have some negative influence on our relations.”

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