Navalny Discharged from Hospital; Doctors Say ‘Complete Recovery’ Possible

Kremlin critic Aleksei Navalny has been discharged from the Berlin hospital where he was being treated for what Germany has said is a case of poisoning with a nerve agent from the Soviet-era Novichok group.The 44-year-old posted on social media a picture of himself sitting on a park bench in the German capital after being released, adding that while he still doesn’t have full use of his left hand, he has started learning how to regain his balance by standing on one leg.Navalny fell violently ill aboard a Moscow-bound flight on August 20 originating in the Siberian city of Tomsk, where he was carrying out his latest investigation into state corruption. Days later, he was airlifted to Berlin for treatment.“The first time they put me in front of a mirror after 24 days in intensive care (of which 16 were in a coma), a character from the movie ‘The Lord of the Rings’ looked back at me and I can tell you, it was not an elf at all,” Navalny said in the post.“I was terribly upset: I thought that I would never be discharged. But the doctors continued to do their miracle,” he added.Navalny said he will continue to do physiotherapy, while doctors from the Charite hospital in Berlin said in a statement on September 23 that based on his “progress and current condition,” physicians believe that a “complete recovery is possible.””However, it remains too early to gauge the potential long-term effects of his severe poisoning,” the statement cautioned.German authorities have said tests in Germany, France, and Sweden have determined Navalny was poisoned with a chemical agent from the Novichok group.French President Emmanuel Macron on September 22 demanded a “swift and flawless” explanation from Moscow for the poisoning during his speech to the 75th-annual United Nations General Assembly.Several other countries in the West have also demanded an explanation from Russia, but Moscow has declined to open an investigation so far, saying it has yet to see evidence of a crime.The Kremlin, which also has denied any involvement in the attack, said on September 23 that the anti-corruption crusader “is free” to return to Russia whenever he pleases.Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov also addressed a recent article in the French newspaper Le Monde, saying the report that President Vladimir Putin told his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, in a recent conversation that perhaps Navalny had poisoned himself had many inaccuracies.He did, however, confirm that the Navalny case was discussed between the two leaders.Navalny was medically airlifted to Germany at the request of his wife following a medical tussle with Russian doctors who said he was too sick to travel.He emerged earlier this month from a medically induced coma as his condition slowly improved.German doctors say the military-grade nerve agent Novichok was found both inside his body and on his skin.Navalny said in a post on his website on September 21 that the 30-day deadline for Russian police to conduct their “pre-investigative check” into what he called his attempted murder by poisoning has expired. He demanded that the Russian side return articles of clothing taken when he was hospitalized there.Experts say the clothes he had on could help any investigation into the poisoning.Russian officials have questioned German officials’ findings and their statements since Navalny arrived there for treatment.Russian police must either launch an investigation or close a case within 30 days of a pre-investigative check.However, police in Omsk have said they are continuing their investigation.Navalny’s team has said a water bottle removed from his hotel room in the city of Tomsk after he fell ill had been taken to Germany and found to contain traces of the nerve agent.Peskov has said suggestions that Navalny ingested the nerve agent via a water bottle in Siberia are “absurd.”In a statement issued via his Instagram account on September 19, Navalny called his road to recovery “a clear path now, albeit long.”Navalny was attacked with a green dye by unknown assailants in Russia in 2017, leaving him with permanent damage to his vision.Two years later, he suddenly fell ill while in Russian detention with what Russian doctors said was a severe allergic reaction but which he and his team insisted was an intentional poisoning. That case still has not been solved. 

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