KEY POINTS

  • Doctors said Alexei Navalny's health continued to improve and the Russian opposition leader could stand on his own
  • French President Emmanuel Macron said French and Swedish lab tests confirmed Germany's results saying Navalny was poisoned
  • Reports say the Russian paramedics who first treated Navalny accounts contradicts the initial diagnosis from the hospital Russia Navalny was treated at

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny's health continued to improve and he was able to leave his bed, doctors overseeing his recovery said Monday. The update came as French President Emmanuel Macron said his country’s investigation into Navalny’s poisoning ended and its findings point to an assassination attempt plotted within Russia.

“The patient has been successfully removed from mechanical ventilation,” according to a press release from Berlin's Charite hospital, where Navalny is being treated. “He is currently undergoing mobilization and is able to leave his bed for short periods of time.”

“The decision to make details of Mr. Navalny’s condition public was made in consultation with the patient and his wife.”

 Vladimir Putin’s most vocal critic and political opponent only awoke from his coma on Sept. 7. Doctors cautioned there may be long-term health problems caused by the poisoning they may not have identified.

French and Swedish labs also confirmed that Navalny was poisoned with the Soviet-era nerve agent Novichok. The secondary tests matched the results from Germany earlier in September pointing to Novichok.

The nerve agent was also used to poison former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Salisbury, who were living in England at the time. Dawn Sturgess, a local woman, was the only person killed when she came into contact with the poison. Skripal and his daughter survived the poisoning and relocated to New Zealand under new identities, according to reports, though there is some skepticism.

President Macron’s office said he already spoke with Putin about the poisoning and demanded a proper investigation by the Kremlin.

“The president expressed his deep concern over the criminal act perpetrated against Alexei Navalny and the imperative that all light be shed, without delay, on the circumstances and responsibilities of this attempted assassination,” Macron’s office said in a press release.

Reports said Putin did not take these accusations well, calling them “inappropriate” and continued demanding German hand over its medical tests for evaluation.

Other sources told Reuters that the Russian paramedics account of Navalny's illness contradicted the first public diagnosis put out by Omsk Emergency Hospital No. 1. Paramedics conducted all necessary tests on Navalny while transporting him to the hospital, the sources said, and found no irregularities with his blood sugar or metabolism.

However, the hospital still initially ruled Navalny’s coma was the result of metabolic problems and an irregularly high blood sugar level.

“There was no diabetes there, it was all checked at once and ruled out,” one source said. “The indicator was normal, there was no problem in carbohydrate metabolism.”

Alexander Sabaev, the chief toxicologist at the hospital, pushed back against the report. Sabaev is partially credited with saving Navalny’s life after he injected a small amount of atropine into Navalny’s lungs.

“No, this is not true, the ambulance team saw sugar 13 mmol per litre,” Sabaev said. “Metabolic parameters can only be found by biochemical analysis, which can only be done in a hospital.”

Sabaev initially suspected poisoning, but has since said he was not after his own lab’s results found no toxins in Navalny’s blood.

Alexei Navalny (C) had been campaigning for tactical voting before he was poisoned Alexei Navalny (C) had been campaigning for tactical voting before he was poisoned Photo: AFP / Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV