Top Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny is out of a coma after he was reportedly poisoned, CNN reports.
The Charite Hospital in Berlin, Germany, where Navalny was taken after a brief stay at a Russian hospital, announced on Monday that Navalny is “being weaned off mechanical ventilation" and "is responding to verbal stimuli.”
"It remains too early to gauge the potential long-term effects of his severe poisoning," the hospital said in a statement.
Navalny had been in a coma for weeks after falling ill on a flight. He was taken to a hospital in Siberia where doctors downplayed the poisoning allegation. He was then transferred to Germany where doctors confirmed he was poisoned.
Navalny team blames Putin:
Doctors in Germany said Navalny was definitely poisoned with Novichok, a nerve agent that has been used to poison enemies of Russian President Vladimir Putin in the past.
Germany’s government said it had “unequivocal evidence” that Novichok was used.
Navalny’s team has blamed Putin for the poisoning.
"In 2020, poisoning Navalny with Novichok is exactly the same as leaving an autograph at the scene of the crime," said Leonid Volkov, Navalny's chief of staff.
Germany mulls retaliation:
German foreign minister Heiko Maas suggested that the country may put a freeze on a gas pipeline deal with Russia in response to the poisoning.
"The Chancellor [Angela Merkel] has endorsed the language of the foreign minister," a government spokesperson added.
"I can't comment on any time frames, except that we are not talking about months or until the end of the year," the spokesperson added.