BERLIN – Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has been discharged from the Berlin hospital where he was being treated for Novichok poisoning.
Nalvany was first admitted to the Charite hospital 32 days ago and spent 16 days in an induced coma following his transfer from Russia after he collapsed into unconsciousness on a plane journey in Siberia.
His medical team at Charite University Hospital in the German capital announced on Wednesday that he was released the previous day and could make a full recovery.
“Alexei Navalny, who had been receiving treatment at Charite – Universitätsmedizin Berlin since August 22, 2020, was yesterday discharged from inpatient care,” the hospital said in a statement.
“The patient’s condition had improved sufficiently for him to be discharged from acute inpatient care.
“Alexei Navalny had been receiving treatment at Charite for a total of 32 days, of which 24 days were spent in intensive care.”
It added: “Based on the patient’s progress and current condition, the treating physicians believe that complete recovery is possible.
“However, it remains too early to gauge the potential long-term effects of his severe poisoning.”
Steffen Seibert, the spokesman for the German government, spoke of his “relief” that Navalny was able to leave the hospital. The transfer of Russian opposition politician from Siberia to Berlin was organized by the NGO Cinema for Peace and authorized by German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Navalny arrived in the German capital in a critical state days after his family and political team lobbied for him to be moved from the Omsk hospital where he was first admitted.
A German army laboratory later found he was exposed to a nerve agent from the Novichok group, which has also been confirmed by testing centers in Sweden and France.
Novichok, developed by the Soviet Union in the 1970s and 1980s, was used to poison former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in 2018 in the United Kingdom.
Merkel has called on Russia to explain what happened and has threatened to impose sanctions if it does not receive an adequate response.
Navalny’s political team have accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of being behind the poisoning and first said they believed the Kremlin critic had drunk the nerve-agent in a cup of tea while waiting for a plane. They claimed to have found Novichok traces on a water bottle in a hotel room where Navalny was staying in the city of Tomsk.
Amid a flurry of accusations and denials, Berlin has tabled a debate on how the incident could affect the Nord Stream 2 project, which is due to bring Russian gas to Germany via the Baltic Sea. The project was first drawn up by Merkel’s predecessor Gerhard Schröder.
Navalny gave his Instagram followers an update on his health on Wednesday.
“After 32 (days) in the hospital, doctors decided that further recovery requires no hospital treatment but rather a normal life. Go for walks, be with my family. Immerse myself in a daily routine,” he said in a caption along with a photograph of him sitting on a park bench.
“And here you go, I’m already hobbling through the park in pants three times m size,” he said in reference to his weight loss. “The first time doctors gave me a mirror after 24 days of intensive care (of which 16 were in a coma), what looked back was the character from Lord of the Rings. And believe me, I was not the elf.”
He said his immediate plans were to recover mobility in his hands and be able to stand on one leg.
With a lack of other options, Navalny’s spokeswoman Kira Yarmysh on Twitter said that he would remain in Germany for the time being.
The Kremlin’s spokesperson, Dmitri Peskov, said: “He is free, just like any Russian citizen, to return at any moment.”
Russia’s government rejects the accusations it was involved in Navalny’s poisoning.