Vladimir Putin critic Alexei Navalny plans return to Russia | News | DW | 13.01.2021
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Vladimir Putin critic Alexei Navalny plans return to Russia

Leading Russian opposition member Alexei Navalny has said he plans to return to Russia on Sunday. Despite facing various legal threats, Navalny said he had almost fully recovered from being poisoned with a nerve agent.

Alexi Nawalny

'I survived,' Navalny said in an Instagram post

Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny said on Wednesday he would fly back to Russia on Sunday. He made the announcement from Germany, where he has been convalescing after being poisoned.

One of Russian President Vladimir Putin's top critics, Navalny was transported to Germany in August after collapsing on a plane. Germany and other Western nations claim there had been an attempt on his life using the Novichok nerve agent.

"I survived. And now Putin, who gave the order for my murder, is ... telling his servants to do everything so that I do not return," Navalny wrote in an Instagram post.

Russian authorities deny any involvement in the incident.

Earlier this week, Russian prison authorities asked a Moscow court to order Navalny to be put behind bars for violating a suspended sentence.

In October, the Russian Investigations Committee started a "large scale fraud" case, accusing Navalny of spending 356 million rubles (about €3.9 million, $4.8 million) of donations for personal use.   

Diplomatic row 

The case has sparked diplomatic tensions between Moscow and the European Union.  

In October, the EU implemented sanctions against Russia over the poisoning of Navalny. 

The bloc also banned some officials of the Russian FSB security services from staying in European territories.  

In response, Russia imposed countersanctions, banning German, Swedish and French government representatives, after laboratories from the three countries concluded the poisoning. 

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons confirmed tests showing that Navalny was poisoned with the Novichok nerve agent. 

The anti-corruption activist accused the FSB of attempting to murder him at the instruction of Putin. 

Russia denied the allegations and refused to open a formal investigation into the case.  

fb, sms/rc (Reuters, dpa, AFP)

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