Opposition leader pledges to return to Russia after recovery from poisoning


Jan. 13 (UPI) — Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny announced Wednesday he plans to return to Russia from Germany after recovering from being poisoned.

In an Instagram post, Navalny said he purchased a plane ticket to Russia as he felt “almost healthy enough to come back home” despite concern he may be arrested upon returning to the country.


“There was never a question for me whether to return or not, never,” he wrote on Twitter. “I ended up in Germany having arrived there in an intensive care box. On January 17, Sunday, I will return home on Pobeda airline flight.”

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.

Navalny 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 an agent dropped the toxin Novichok into the “inner seams” in his underwear while he was staying at the Xander hotel in the Siberian city of Tomsk. Investigative news agency Bellingcat announced it had uncovered eight FSB members involved with Navalny’s poisoning.

The Kremlin dismissed Navalny’s claim, saying it was not an official statement from the Federal Security Service and accused him of attempting to discredit the agency’s intelligence work.