Lawyer and anti-corruption campaigner Alexei Navalny was taken ill suddenly on a flight from Tomsk to Moscow and has been put on a ventilator, his press secretary said
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Alexei Navalny (Image: REUTERS)
Prominent Vladimir Putin foe Alexei Navalny was rushed to hospital with “poisoning” after his plane made an emergency landing due to a sudden acute illness.
A video shows the lawyer and anti-corruption campaigner being stretchered from the aircraft to a waiting ambulance in the Siberian city of Omsk on Thursday.
He was unconscious, according to his press secretary, Kira Yarmysh, who suspects poison was added to his tea.
Navailny was put on a long ventilator in intensive care, according reports.
Navalny was seen in a video being stretched from the plane
(Image: 112 Channel)
He had been taken ill on a scheduled flight from Tomsk to Moscow and was delivered to the hospital with the preliminary diagnosis of “toxic poisoning”.
Yarmysh tweeted from his ambulance: "We assume that Alexei was poisoned with something mixed into the tea.
“It was the only thing that he drank in the morning.
“Doctors say the toxin was absorbed faster through the hot liquid.
“Alexei is now unconscious.”
The press secretary told local media that after the plane took off from Tomsk, Navalny, 44, “said that he was feeling unwell and asked me for a napkin, he was sweating.
“He asked me to speak to him because he needed to concentrate on the sound of the voice.
“I was talking to him, then they brought a trolley with water.
“I asked if water would help, he said no.
Navalny is said to be in intensive care
(Image: 112 Channel)
“Then he went to the toilet, and after that he fainted.”
It was later reported that Navalny is in intensive care and had regained consciousness, but was “struggling to speak”.
However, Alexander Murakhovsky, the chief doctor treating Navalny, assessed his condition as “grave”.
Separately, TVK, citing the health ministry in Omsk, reported that he remained unconscious.
Navalny shouts slogans during an unauthorised anti-Putin rally
(Image: AFP via Getty Images)
This contradicted reports that he had come round.
Navalny coordinator in Tomsk, Kseniya Fadeeva, told Open Media: “He was completely fine before he drank tea at Tomsk airport.”
Yarmysh added: “A year ago, when Alexei was in a detention centre, he was poisoned. Obviously, now they’ve done the same thing to him again.”
This was in reference to last July, during one of Navalny’s stints in prison, he fell ill, with suggestion he had been poisoned.
Prison staff reportedly told his wife an ambulance had rushed him to hospital with what was suspected to be a "strong allergic reaction".
Russia's President Vladimir Putin
(Image: Alexei Nikolsky/TASS)
His eyes and face were said to have swelled up and turned red.
At the time, Yarmish said she suspected a chemical spray had been put in his cell.
Navalny is seen as Russian President Putin’s most charismatic and potentially dangerous foe.
He has faced constant legal attacks and has served a number of prison sentences.
Navalny taking a selfie in Tomsk
(Image: Alexei Navalny)
His anti-corruption organisation was dubbed a ‘foreign agent’ by the Russian authorities.
Police have conducted repeated raids on his offices.
Belarus doctor Alexander Lukashenko has blamed Navalny for fermenting the protests in his country, but without providing proof.
In one recent expose, Navalny claimed Putin’s ecology chief Svetlana Radionova was linked to a luxury property deal and that her wealth could not be explained.
Navalny has vowed his aim is to topple Putin and replace him as president.
The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that Russia's arrests and detention of Navalny in 2012 and 2014 were politically motivated and violated his human rights, a ruling Moscow called questionable.
Navalny has spent the last few days in Siberia, initially in Novosibirsk, where he was reportedly collecting material for an investigation, before heading to Tomsk.