Have Russian Agents Tried to Kill Alexander Navalny a Second Time?

Published December 13th, 2020 - 01:17 GMT
Navalny, 44, fell ill while on a plane to Moscow on August 20. (AFP/File)
Navalny, 44, fell ill while on a plane to Moscow on August 20. (AFP/File)
Navalny fell ill on flight to Moscow in August and brought to Berlin for treatment .

German sources have claimed Russia tried to assassinate opposition leader Alexander Navalny with Novichok nerve agent a second time after he survived the first attack. 

It has been suggested a second dose of deadly nerve agent Novichok was given to Vladimir Putin's fiercest critic while he was in a coma after an attack in Serbia, Sunday Times reports. 

Navalny, 44, fell ill while on a plane to Moscow on August 20 and a German military lab later found evidence of the banned Novichok family in his system. 

The lethal nerve agent is said to have been used again with the hopes that he would die before he arrived in Berlin for medical treatment after the Kremlin gave into pressure from around the world to let him travel. 

Those who poisoned Navalny are believed to have accessed the hotel room he was staying in while in Tomsk, Serbia, before he flew to Moscow. 

There they are said to have contaminated his clothes with Novichok. Since the attack there have been several different hypotheses floated around as to how the nerve agent was administered - including spiking his tea at the airport cafe. 

Once the plane had taken off Navalny fell ill and collapsed which saw the aircraft make an emergency landing in Omsk. 

He was transported onto an ambulance where he was given a life-saving injection of atropine - used to treat certain types of nerve agent and pesticide poisonings. 

In between him being taken off the plane and flown to Berlin for treatment on August 22, sources claim he was given another dose as he lay in an induced coma.

Two doses increase the chances of death but Alastair Hay, professor of environmental toxicology at Leeds University, said the atropine injection in his system may have counteracted the poison. 

Doctors at the Charite hospital in Berlin treated him and kept him in a medically induced coma for 18 days. 

On September 2, the German government announced that a military lab had found evidence of Novichok, stating there was 'unequivocal evidence' of the nerve agent which has since been independently confirmed by labs in Sweden and France.

Navalny's allies have pointed the finger at Vladimir Putin, saying that only the Russian government could use a military-grade nerve agent such as Novichok.

Russia denies any involvement in the attack and cast doubt as to whether he was poisoned while Navalny says he is certain Putin made the order. 

Navalny's spokeswoman Kira Yarmysh said in September that the opposition leader planned to return from Germany to Russia once he has recovered.

He has been a thorn in the Kremlin's side for more than a decade, exposing what he says is high-level corruption and mobilising protests.

He has been repeatedly detained for organising public meetings, sued over corruption investigations and barred from running in the 2018 presidential election.

The 44-year-old has also served several stints in jail in recent years for organising anti-Kremlin protests.

The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that Russia's arrests and detention of Navalny in 2012 and 2014 were politically motivated.

This article has been adapted from its original source.

© Associated Newspapers Ltd.

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