Russian opposition leader Navalny ‘poisoned,’ says aide

(Update 1: adds info throughout)

Moscow, Aug 20 (efe-epa).- Russia’s most prominent opposition figure Alexei Navalny is unconscious and fighting for his life in an intensive care unit in the Siberian city of Omsk after allegedly being poisoned.

The 44-year-old fell ill during a flight from the Siberian city of Tomsk to Moscow. The plane made an emergency landing at an airport in Omsk, where he was admitted to hospital.

His press secretary Kira Yarmysh, who was accompanying Navalny on the flight, said Thursday: “We assume that Alexei was poisoned with something mixed into his tea. It was the only thing that he drank this morning. Doctors say the toxin was absorbed faster through the hot liquid. Alexei is now unconscious.”

According to a statement from S7 airlines, Navalny did not consume anything on board the plane.

Yarmysh recalled an incident last year in which Nalvalny suffered an allergic reaction that his doctor said may have indicated poisoning. At the time, he was serving a 30-day prison sentence after his arrest for calling people to attend an anti-government protest.

“Obviously the same thing has happened again,” she added.

She said the politician was in a coma and on a ventilator.

Anastasy Vasilyeva, the head of the opposition-aligned medical union who traveled to Omsk after the alleged poisoning, said she was trying to organize Navalny’s transfer to a specialized center in Europe.

The hospital’s chief physician told state news agency TASS that he is “in serious condition.” The agency added that Navalny had been admitted to Omsk Ambulance Hospital number 1’s toxicology intensive care unit.

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