Poisoned Russian dissident Alexei Navalny has made further progress and is now able to speak after emerging from his coma in a German hospital this week, according to a report.
German magazine Der Spiegel reported Thursday that the Kremlin critic, who is being treated at Berlin’s Charite hospital, has gotten additional police protection because more visitors are expected, Reuters reported.
“Der Spiegel and Bellingcat understand that Navalny can speak again and can likely remember details about his collapse,” wrote the mag, which cited its investigative website partner.
“His statements could be dangerous for people behind the attack,” Der Spiegel added.
Navalny, 44, had been in an induced coma since he was flown to Germany on Aug. 22 for treatment two days after he became sick on a domestic flight from Siberia to Moscow.
Aides believe he sipped tea laced with poison at the airport, and his family has always pointed the finger at the Kremlin.
German chemical weapons experts have said tests proved “without doubt” that he was poisoned with Soviet-era nerve agent Novichok.
Meanwhile, Moscow denounced a claim made by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that there is a “substantial chance” that senior Russian officials ordered Navalny’s poisoning.
The top US diplomat told conservative pundit Ben Shapiro on his podcast Wednesday that the US and European Union were working to find out who is behind the poisoning.
“I think people all around the world see this kind of activity for what it is,” Pompeo said.
“And when they see the effort to poison a dissident, and they recognize that there is a substantial chance that this actually came from senior Russian officials, I think this is not good for the Russian people. I think it’s not good for Russia,” he said.
On Thursday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: “We consider unacceptable any direct or indirect suggestions that Russian officials were involved in this,” Agence France-Presse reported.
Peskov insisted that Russia had “an interest in finding the reasons for what happened” to Navalny — and repeated complaints that the Kremlin had not received information from Germany on the findings of medical tests that led it to conclude the critic was poisoned.
During a news conference Thursday, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov also slammed the US, Germany and other Western allies for expecting Russia to accept blame for something it hasn’t done.
“We’re accustomed to unfounded accusations,” Lavrov said. “When the official representative of the German government says that the request from the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office has been directed to independent judiciary agencies and so the German government can do nothing about it while demanding that we conduct an investigation, it resembles the precedent created by our Western colleagues following the Salisbury poisoning incident.”
“If such logic prevails, that would only mean that they put themselves above the law, above everyone else,” he added.
Germany’s Defense Ministry has said the information about Navalny had been handed over to the Hague-based Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.
With Post wires
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