MOSCOW – Russia’s opposition leader Alexey Nawalny announced Wednesday that he intends to return to Russia this weekend, four months after he was evacuated to Germany after trying to assassinate him in Siberia.
“The question of whether to come back or not never crosses my mind,” Navalny wrote on Instagram. “This is because I didn’t leave. I ended up in Germany – in a seriously ill box – for one simple reason they tried to kill me. ”
Navalny was poisoned in Siberia in August, where he was brought into an artificial coma by local doctors. His condition was described as severe and after days of the German government̵7;s lobbying efforts and activists, he flew in an ambulance to Berlin.
Once in Berlin, German scientists identified the toxin as the neuroprotective Novichok.The weapon was created by the Soviet Union and Russia claimed to have destroyed its stock. Several independent laboratories in many countries support the German findings.
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Russian spies also used Novichok in an attempt to assassinate former Russian spy Sergei Skripal in Britain in 2018.Russia has denied any involvement in the effort as it denies allegations of attempting to assassinate Navalny.
“I survived,” Navalny wrote in his post, “and now Putin, who ordered me to kill me, screams through his bunker and orders his servants to do whatever it takes to keep me from returning. The servants act as they used to: They bring new criminal charges against me. ”
Navalny has been signaling for months that he intends to return to Russia after recovering from the poison. During this time, he faces additional legal challenges from Putin’s government and allies.
Navalny and his supporters interpreted the message to say he would be better off in Germany.
“But what they do is not of interest to me,” Navalny wrote on Wednesday. “Russia is my country. Moscow is my city I miss them. So this morning I went to Pobeda’s site. [airlines] And bought a ticket on January 17th, Sunday, I will go home. “
Navalny made a clear intention to return for an interview in October.Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for the Kremlin at the time, said that Navalny, as a Russian citizen, had every right to return.However, Peskov and other officials also claimed that Navalny was property. Of the CIA
Navalny’s return sets the stage for a potential showdown between Putin’s regime and its most prominent critics.