Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who is suspected to have been poisoned Thursday, has been denied permission to transfer to a German hospital by his doctors in Russia, The New York Times reported Friday.
Citing instability in Navalny’s condition, doctors refused to allow Navalny and his staff to board a flight to Germany to receive treatment from leading toxicologists. Some of Navalny’s supporters wondered if the underlying motivation for the decision was fear from Russian authorities that German doctors might detect and reveal the substance that poisoned Navalny.
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What is occurring in Russia right now is "an attempt on his life being carried out right now by doctors and the deceitful authorities that have authorized it," said Kira Yarmysh, Navalny’s spokeswoman.
State-run media are now suggesting Navalny may have taken something himself that caused him to become sick, despite a consistent record of poisonings that have struck Putin critics in years past.
Some believe this episode marks a deliberate attempt to silence one of Putin’s most vociferous critics during a period of significant domestic turmoil and have demanded a closer look from Washington.
"Secretary of State Mike Pompeo needs to speak up quickly. He should demand an objective investigation and Navalny's access to immediate medical treatment abroad," writes foreign policy commentator Tom Rogan. "Alongside congressional leaders, Pompeo should make clear that if Navalny dies, new sanctions will ensure that the Russian energy economy dies along with him."