A spokeswoman for top Putin critic Alexey Navalny said that doctors were blocking his transfer to Germany after he fell in on a flight, The New York Times reports.
Navalny, a leading opposition figure in Russia, fell ill on a flight from Moscow to Siberia on Thursday.
The flight made an emergency landing and Navalny was seen loudly groaning before losing conciousness and being taken to a hospital in the Siberian city of Tomsk.
Navalny is said to be in a coma
Spokeswoman Kira Yarmysh alleged that Navalny must have been poisoned by tea that he drank before the flight.
Doctors dispute poison claim:
Anatoly Kalinichenko, the deputy head doctor at the hospital, told reporters on Friday that doctors had not found any evidence to show that Navalny was poisoned.
But the doctor could not explain why the healthy 44-year-old suddenly fell into a coma.
The remarks have drawn skepticism and allegations that “Russia did not want Mr. Navalny to leave because German doctors might discover the cause of his illness,” The Times reported.
Doctors block transfer:
Yarmysh tweeted that the hospital’s top doctor was blocking Navalny’s transfer because his condition is too unstable.
She alleged that the refusal was “an attempt on his life being carried out right now by doctors and the deceitful authorities that have authorized it.”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel offered to help and the Kremlin initially said it would facilitate Navalny’s transfer but appears to have backed off after pushback from doctors at the hospital.
“The mixed messages from the authorities added to suspicions that they want to delay Mr. Navalny’s departure to prevent treatment by foreign doctors who would be more likely to publicly identify any poison remaining in his system,” The Times reported.