Putin’s Political Opponent Fighting for His Life After Drinking Allegedly “Poisoned Tea”

In a crazy story breaking over the weekend, it appears that Vladimir Putin’s opponent was allegedly poisoned while drinking tea.

The wife of pro-democracy activist Alexei Navalny, who lies in a coma in a Siberian hospital after drinking tea his aides allege was poisoned, has asked Russian president Vladimir Putin to allow her husband to be treated in Germany. The same day, one of the Russian doctors in care of Navalny in the far-East city of Omsk said he “didn’t believe” that Navalny’s condition was due to poisoning but rather to a “metabolic disease” triggered by low blood sugar.

The refusal of Russian doctors to let him be transported to Germany, even as a special German plane had been sent to Omsk to take him back to one of the country’s specialized facilities, was attributed by Navalny aides to Kremlin pressure, and seen as a deliberate attempt to wait until no trace of poison could be found in his body.

French president Emmanuel Macron and German chancellor Angela Merkel jointly expressed on Thursday their “concerns” over Navalny’s fate, and asked that a proper investigation be conducted on the reasons he fell ill. Merkel said she was deeply upset by the incident, and Macron even tweeted France was ready to grant Navalny political asylum and “protection.” Both leaders reiterated their willingness to see Navalny examined and treated by French or German specialists.

Navalny, 44, was flying from Tomsk to Moscow on Thursday when he fell violently ill, forcing his plane to make an emergency landing in nearby Omsk shortly after takeoff.

“We assume that Alexei was poisoned with something mixed in his tea; it was the only thing he drank all morning,” spokeswoman Kira Yarmysh tweeted. A doctor at the Omsk hospital confirmed that Navalny was in a “serious condition.” A Kremlin spokesman later told the Tass news agency that Russian law enforcement would launch an investigation “if poisoning took place.”

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