The chief medical officer of the Siberian hospital treating Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny said on Friday he was diagnosed with a metabolic disease caused by hypoglycemia.
Alexander Murakhovsky, the chief medical officer of the Navalny treating hospital in the city of Omsk, also said traces of industrial chemicals were found on the 44-year-old’s clothes and fingers.
“Today we have some labor diagnoses. The main one is… a metabolic disorder, ”Murakhovsky said, adding that Navalny’s condition“ can be caused by a sudden drop in blood sugar ”.
The announcement came shortly after Navalny’s allies accused the Kremlin of thwarting his medical evacuation to Germany, saying the move put his life in danger because the Siberian hospital treating him was under-equipped.
Navalny, a fierce critic of President Vladimir Putin and his lieutenants, is in serious condition after drinking tea on Thursday on a plane his allies believe was poisoned. A doctor said on Friday his condition improved a bit overnight.
Navalny’s wife Yulia Navalnaya and spokeswoman Kira Yarmysh spoke out against the Kremlin after Murakhovsky said moving him would be life threatening as he was still in a coma and his condition unstable.
“The ban on transporting Navalny is an assassination attempt currently carried out by doctors and the deceptive authorities who authorized it,” Yarmysh wrote on social media.
She said medics had previously consented to her transfer, but refused at the last minute.
“This decision, of course, was not made by them but by the Kremlin,” Yarmysh said.
Later Friday, Navalnaya made a direct appeal for Putin to allow her husband’s medical evacuation to Germany.
She posted a letter on Navalny’s Twitter account that she signed to Putin, saying: “I am officially asking your permission to take Alexei Navalny to Germany. “
The dispute over Navalny’s relocation erupted when a German air ambulance landed in Omsk, the town where he is being treated, with the intention of sending him to Germany for treatment if possible.
Murakhovsky told reporters there are many legal issues that would need to be resolved before Navalny can be handed over to European doctors.
He said the best doctors had been flown from Moscow to treat Navalny. Doctors in Moscow were no worse than their European counterparts, he said.
Later on Friday, the Kremlin said not to evacuate Navalny was “a purely medical decision”.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said German medics who arrived on Friday were invited to join Russian medics treating Navalny.
Navalny’s team cited a police officer who said that a highly dangerous substance had been identified in his body that posed a risk to everyone around him who would therefore have to wear protective suits.
Navalny’s team said they believe authorities want to buy time so that all traces of what had poisoned them are gone.
Among Putin’s fiercest critics is Navalny, a lawyer and anti-corruption activist. He lost consciousness on a flight Thursday and his plane made an emergency landing.
Doctors said they were working to save his life after he fell into a coma and was put on a ventilator in intensive care.