RUSSIA SAYS NOT ENOUGH PROOF ON NAVALNY POISONING CLAIM
A senior Russian health official said on Tuesday that Germany did not appear to have enough evidence to claim that Russian dissident Alexei Navalny had been poisoned, Peter Spinella reported for Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa) late on August 25, 2020.
Berlin's Charite hospital, which has been treating Navalny in a near-fatal coma since he was evacuated from a Siberian hospital on Saturday, claims Navalny was poisoned with a cholinesterase inhibitor, which prevents the normal breakdown of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine.
The head of Moscow's Bureau of Forensic Medicine, Sergei Shigeyev, said it was "premature" to come to that conclusion without identifying a specific poison, according to comments carried by Russian state news agency TASS. Cholinesterase activity varies significantly among different people, particularly due to certain chronic diseases," Shigeyev said. "Currently we can only talk about the fact that the patient was found to have a decrease in cholinesterase activity. That is what the conclusion about poisoning with a cholinesterase inhibitor is based upon. That conclusion is premature," he said.
Navalny, 44, has been one of the fiercest domestic opponents of Russian President Vladimir Putin during the past decade, having organized several series of protests against the long-time Russian leader, whom he accuses of perpetuating widespread corruption.