Russian opposition activist Alexei Navalny is in a coma after he was rushed to hospital as a result of “toxic poisoning,” his press secretary said Thursday.
In a series of tweets, Kira Yarmysh said Navalny had fallen ill on board a flight to Moscow from Tomsk, forcing the plane to make an emergency landing in Omsk.
“Alexei is still on a ventilator. He is in a coma in a serious condition,” she said. “We assume Alexei was poisoned with something mixed into the tea.”
It is not the first time Navalny, an outspoken critic of President Vladimir Putin, has allegedly been poisoned. Last year, Navalny’s lawyer and doctor claimed he was poisoned by an “unknown chemical agent.” At the time, health officials claimed he had suffered an “allergic reaction” while in police custody.
Navalny’s doctor, Anastasia Vasilyeva, said on Thursday that emergency room doctors in Omsk did not want to talk to her, and had again blamed an allergic reaction for his symptoms. “I’m flying to Omsk,” she tweeted.
Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius tweeted: “Very worrying reports about suspected toxic poisoning of Russia’s opposition leader @navalny. If confirmed, those responsible must face consequences.”
Last month, after Russia passed constitutional changes that will allow Putin to run for president twice more, Navalny labeled the vote “invalid” and “illegal,” and called for his supporters to take to the streets in September.