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Aleksei Navalny Arrives in Germany for Potential Poisoning Treatment


Upon landing in Berlin after roughly seven hours en route, Mr. Navalny’s plane was met by an ambulance that brought him, under police escort, to the hospital where doctors immediately began extensive testing to determine what may have caused his illness and how to proceed with treatment.

“After completion of the examinations and after consultation with the family, the attending doctors will comment on the illness and further treatment steps,” Manuela Zingl, a spokeswoman for Charité, said in a statement. “The examinations will take some time. We therefore ask for your patience; we will inform you as soon as we have any findings.”

It remains unclear how the Kremlin and the Russian opposition will respond to Mr. Nalvany’s sudden departure from the political scene, analysts in Russia said. But much will hinge on his condition in the longer term and whether he will be able to return to Russia.

“There are cases that go both ways,” Ekaterina Schulmann, a Moscow-based political analyst, said in a telephone interview. “Sometimes, instances that are publicly perceived as political terror do demoralize the opposition, and at other times they motivate people to protest, or at the least to vote in protest.”

Mr. Navalny is being treated at the same the hospital where Pyotr Verzilov, a member of the Russian protest group Pussy Riot, was admitted in 2018. Doctors said at the time that he likely had been poisoned. Speaking to reporters via video link on Friday, Mr. Verzilov said the onset of his symptoms had mirrored those of Mr. Navalny, including a loss of consciousness and his slipping into a coma several hours after the suspected poisoning.

“The similarities are striking, not only in the medical condition, but in the behavior of the Russian government and doctors,” Mr. Verzilov said, pointing out that his own transfer out of Russia was delayed more than two days after the suspected poisoning. Such delays by Russian officials, critics say, are intended to make it harder to determine what substance has been ingested.

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