Moscow, Sep 17 (efe-epa).- Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s team on Thursday alleged that he was poisoned with the Novichok nerve agent inside his hotel room in the Siberian city of Tomsk and not at the airport as previously thought.
Navalny’s aides posted a video on his Instagram account as the purported proof of the incident, with footage of the room supposedly grabbed immediately after it became known that he had collapsed on a plane to Moscow.
The video shows Navalny’s team collecting some water bottles that were later sent to Germany, where he is recovering from the poisoning.
Local media outlets cited sources close to the investigation as saying that German experts detected traces of the poison not just in Navalny’s blood, urine, and skin but also in a water bottle.
Navalny’s team said on Instagram that the bottle was found in the Tomsk hotel where Navalny and his crew had stayed.
The team said they decided to collect evidence from the room and document it as it was “obvious” that the case would not be investigated by Russia.
“Two weeks later, a German laboratory found traces of Novichok precisely on the bottle of water from the Tomsk hotel room,” the post said.
According to the team, three other labs have independently corroborated that the opposition leader was poisoned by Novichok.
Novichok, developed by the Soviet Union in the 1970s and 1980s, was used to poison former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in 2018 in the United Kingdom.
“Now we understand: it was done before he left his hotel room to go to the airport,” said Navalny’s aides, who had previously suspected he was poisoned at the airport.
Navalny collapsed during a flight from Siberia to Moscow on Aug. 20, forcing an emergency landing in Omsk before he was treated at a local hospital.
Russian doctors who treated him had said they found no traces of poisoning and attributed the collapse to metabolic problems.
Navalny was transferred to Berlin on Aug. 22 after a request from his family and team and is being treated at the Charité University Hospital.
On Tuesday, his spokesperson told media that the leader wants to return to Russia, even as his condition improved and he was able to sit up on his bed and breathe without the help of a ventilator. EFE-EPA