Poisoned Putin critic 'to return to Russia' as he shares first photo from hospital

Poisoned Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has shared his first picture from hospital as his spokeswoman confirmed that he plans to return to the country.

Mr Navalny was poisoned by deadly nerve agent novichok, according to international tests.

Posting on Instagram, he said he had managed to breathe by himself for an entire day and told his followers: “I miss you all.”

Mr Navalny was transferred to Berlin after initially being treated in Russia

Alongside the photo, where he is surrounded by family, Mr Navalny wrote: “Hi, this is Navalny. I miss you 😍. I still can hardly do anything myself, but yesterday I was able to breathe on my own all day long.

“I did not use any outside help, not even the simplest valve in my throat. I liked it very much. An amazing, underestimated by many process. I recommend it.”

The photo had 600,000 likes on Instagram just an hour after being posted.

Mr Navalny is being treated in Berlin and was put in an induced coma after falling ill on 20 August during a domestic flight in Russia.

It has been claimed novichok was put in his tea at the airport.

Alexei Navalny is seen at a Siberian airport before boarding the plane where he was taken ill. Pic: @djpavlin
Mr Navalny was seen drinking at a Siberian airport where it’s believed he was poisoned. Pic: @djpavlin

Two independent laboratories in Sweden and France this week confirmed German findings that he had been poisoned with the nerve agent.

Russia has denied any involvement and says it has so far seen no evidence the 44-year-old was poisoned.

Mr Nalany’s spokeswoman also tweeted on Tuesday to confirm he plans to return to Russia.

Russian President Vladimir Putin addresses school leavers and university graduates in Moscow on June 27, 2020, amid the crisis linked with the Covid-19 pandemic caused by the novel coronavirus. (Photo by Alexey NIKOLSKY / Sputnik / AFP) (Photo by ALEXEY NIKOLSKY/Sputnik/AFP via Getty Images)
Critics have pointed the finger at Mr Putin’s regime, but Russia says it’s seen no evidence of poisoning

Kira Yarmysh said: “All morning journalists write to me and ask if it is true that Alexei plans to return to Russia.

“I understand the reason for the question, but nevertheless I find it strange that someone could think otherwise.

“Once again I confirm to everyone: no other options have ever been considered.”

Novichok is the same substance used to poison former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury in 2018 – an attack Russia denies orchestrating.

Who is Alexei Navalny?

Western powers, NATO and the EU have strongly condemned the latest suspected murder attempt.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the use of…

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