Dmitri Lovetsky / AP
Russia’s opposition leader Alexei Navalny announced he plans to return home to Russia from Germany on Sunday, where he has spent months recovering from being poisoned.
In an Instagram post on Wednesday, he said he bought a plane ticket to Russia that morning after feeling that “Almost strong enough to go home”
“There has never been a question for me whether to come back or not, never,” Navalny said on Twitter. “I ended up in Germany when I got there in an intensive care unit on Jan. 17. On Sunday, I was going home on a Pobeda flight.”
Navalny was flown to Berlin in a coma after he was poisoned while traveling to Siberia in August. Tests by European health officials later found he had been poisoned by Variant of Novichok, a Soviet-era nerve agent, Navalny has been in extensive rehabilitation from nerve damage as doctors removed him from a medically induced coma in September.
In recent weeks, Navalny said investigative group Bellingcat had recently released evidence that Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) was behind his poisoning. One report was a phone call that Navalny had tricked one of the alleged agents to reveal that the team had used Novichok to the seams in his underwear. The Kremlin denied involvement in Navalni’s poisoning.
Navalny’s announcement came as a surprise to his supporters, who were worried he would be jailed upon his arrival in Russia. On Monday, the Russian Federal Correctional Service submitted a formal petition to the court requesting to replace Navalny’s suspended sentence in the six-year case with new imprisonment, saying Navalny’s stay in Germany had violated. The terms of the said sentence.
In 2014, a Russian court ruled Navalny was guilty of defrauding after he and his brother were accused of embezzling half a million dollars from Russian cosmetics company Yves Rocher in Russia.
Navalni was jailed and his brother was sentenced to jail. Russia launched new allegations of fraud and prison threats against him last month for allegedly misusing donations from supporters and spending them. “For personal purposes”
In the video address, Navalny said the new criminal cases against him were politically motivated and “Obviously fabricated”