Poisoned Kremlin critic Navalny says Russia’s Putin ‘behind the crime’
Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny told a German magazine that Russia's President Vladimir Putin was behind his suspected poisoning and stressed that he was not afraid.
Navalny was flown from Russia to Berlin in August after falling ill on a domestic flight. He received treatment in the Charite hospital for what Germany said was poisoning by a potentially deadly nerve agent before being discharged in September.
"I claim that Putin is behind the crime and I don't have any other versions of what happened," Navalny told Der Spiegel, according to an extract of an interview due to be published later on Thursday.
The West has demanded an explanation from the Kremlin, which has denied any involvement in the incident and said it has yet to see evidence of a crime.
"You don't feel any pain but you know you're dying," Navalny said of the moment that the nerve agent began to take effect on him.
Navalny told Der Spiegel he would return to Russia, adding: "My task is now to remain fearless. And I have no fear!”
The Kremlin critic spent 32 days in the Berlin hospital, 24 of them in intensive care, before doctors deemed his condition had improved sufficiently for him to be discharged.
Spiegel said Navalny was joking and alert in the interview with them, though his hands shook so much it was difficult for him to drink from a bottle of water.
German doctors have said Navalny could make a full recovery, but they haven't ruled out the possibility of long-term damage from the nerve agent.
(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS, AP)
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