Alexey Navalny returned to social media on Tuesday for the first time since he was poisoned last month, as allies said he plans to return to Russia once he’s recovered.
“No other option was ever considered,” Navalny’s spokeswoman Kira Yarmysh said by text message. “We haven’t discussed concrete plans yet.”
Navalny’s health has continued to improve after he collapsed on a plane bound for Moscow from a campaign trip in Siberia. Germany said he was poisoned by what European laboratories have identified
as Novichok, a weapons-grade nerve agent developed in Russia, and has demanded an explanation from the Russian government.
On Tuesday the opposition leader posted a picture of himself flanked by his wife and children, and joking about his state of health.
“Hi, this is Navalny. I miss you,” reads the Instagram post. “I still can’t do practically anything. But yesterday I breathed on my own for the whole day. All by myself. No outside help, even didn’t use this valve in my throat. I liked it a lot. A surprising process, underestimated by many. I recommend it.”
Navalny is able to get out of bed for short periods, according to a statement by Charité hospital, the Berlin clinic that’s treating him.
French President Emmanuel Macron called the attack an
“assassination attempt” in a
phone call with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, and demanded a transparent investigation. The Kremlin labeled the allegations groundless. It’s
refused to open a criminal investigation, asserting it has no evidence Navalny was poisoned.
Russia is willing to work with Germany to investigate the case but hasn’t received a response to its request for “the patient’s biological material,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on a conference call on Tuesday. “If French specialists got this chance, if Swedish specialists got this chance, if OPCW specialists were somehow informed about the results of the analyses, we don’t understand why this opportunity isn’t given to Russian specialists.”
There should be no rush to judgment about the potential impact of the case on Russia’s relations with Europe, he said. “From our point of view, we are convinced there are no factors that can negatively affect and that should in some way negatively affect our relations,” Peskov said.
Navalny, 44, was hospitalised initially in the Siberian city of Omsk, after his flight made
an emergency landing to save his life.