“The patient is in stable condition … we do not oppose his transfer to another hospital, as his relatives indicate,” Deputy Chief Medical Officer Anatoly Kalinichenko said Friday evening, rescinding an early decision to keep Navalny in the hospital. medical reasons.
Navalny’s wife appealed directly to Vladimir Putin to allow the evacuation. A medical plane chartered by a German NGO has been waiting at Omsk airport since Friday morning to take him to the Charité hospital in Berlin.
Navalny’s assistant Kira Yarmysh said hospital officials suddenly reversed their position on Friday evening. “It’s a shame that the doctors took so long to make this decision. The plane has been waiting since this morning, the documents were also ready at the time.In a letter to the Russian president’s administration earlier today, Yulia Navalnaya wrote that her husband “needed qualified medical assistance” and requested permission to transport Navalny to Germany.
Navalny, a fierce critic of Putin, has been hospitalized in a coma and on a ventilator since he suddenly fell ill on a flight Thursday. A Kremlin spokesman had previously said he would help evacuate the opposition spokesman, if asked directly.
A medical plane chartered by a German NGO was waiting for him at Omsk airport on Friday to take him to Berlin after their doctors reportedly said Navalny’s condition was such that he could travel. But Russian doctors have said Navalny will not be released from Omsk hospital due to the potential risk to his life.
The appeal to Putin follows a day of dramatic developments at Omsk’s No.1 Emergency Hospital, where Chief Medical Officer Alexander Murakhovsky said Navalny had not been poisoned but had been diagnosed with metabolic disease caused by hypoglycemia.
He said this may have caused the opposition figure to collapse aboard a flight to Moscow on Thursday, although that doesn’t explain why he hasn’t regained consciousness for more than a day. later.
Navalny supporters said they believed the hospital was under pressure to delay his transfer in order to thwart a proper investigation into the cause of his sudden illness, which forced the pilots to make an emergency landing as he ‘he was screaming in agony.
“They have an order: don’t let him go so that it is impossible for an independent laboratory to confirm the poison,” wrote Leonid Volkov, an ally of Navalny.
German medics who visited Navalny on Friday had approved his transport on a specially equipped flight to Charité Hospital in Berlin, Yarmysh said.
Yarmysh called the hospital’s decision not to fire Navalny – announced just an hour before the German plane arrived – as “an attempt on his life.”
Murakhovsky said Navalny was too sick to be moved, although he said a few hours earlier that his condition had improved. ” Everything can happen. Even the worst could happen, ”he says.
“It is not in very good condition and we cannot trust this hospital,” Yulia Navalnaya told reporters at the hospital on Friday morning. “We demand that they release him to us so that we can treat him in an independent hospital with doctors we trust.
The European Court of Human Rights said it had received a request to grant an interim request allowing Navalny to be transported to Berlin for treatment.
Ivan Zhdanov, director of the Navalny Anti-Corruption Foundation, said a police official told him they found a “deadly substance”, but declined to disclose which, citing the investigation.
“This substance presents a risk to the life not only of Alexei, but also of those around him,” said the police chief, according to Zhdanov. “Everyone around him should wear protective gear.”
Murakhovsky said traces of chemicals were found on Navalny’s clothes and fingers but not his blood, and said they were “normal industrial chemicals used in plastic cups, for example. “.
If confirmed as a poisonous attack, it would be the latest in a series of high-profile attacks, often with poison, against Russian opposition figures and dissidents, including the poisoning of Sergei Skripal in 2018 and the shooting death in 2015 of opposition politician Boris Nemtsov. .
Navalny was flying from Tomsk in Siberia to Moscow on Thursday when he suddenly fell ill and passed out, prompting the captain to make an emergency landing in Omsk. Mobile video filmed on the plane showed medical staff rushing aboard as Navalny screamed.
The suspected poisoning has attracted worldwide attention. White House national security adviser Robert O’Brien said the news was “extremely worrying” and could affect US-Russian relations.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel joined French President Emmanuel Macron in expressing concern over Navalny’s condition and said he could be treated in Germany or France. “I hope he can recover and naturally whether in France or in Germany he can receive all the necessary medical help and support from us,” Merkel said at a joint press conference with Macron.
Whistleblower Edward Snowden, who is currently in Russia, wrote of the alleged poisoning: “If confirmed, it is a crime against all of Russia. There can be no democracy without dissent. “