Navalny Taken Out of Coma as Putin Critic’s Health Improves

Alexey Navalny’s condition has improved and the Russian opposition leader, who German authorities determined was poisoned by a weapons-grade nerve agent, has been taken out of an artificial coma.

“The patient has been removed from his medically induced coma and is being weaned off mechanical ventilation,” Berlin’s Charite hospital said Monday in a Tweet. “He is responding to verbal stimuli.” The clinic said longer-term effects from the “severe poisoning” can’t be ruled out.

Navalny, a chief opponent of Russian President Vladimir Putin, was flown to Berlin two days after collapsing on an internal Russian flight to Moscow on Aug. 20. A German military laboratory determined that he had been poisoned with a novichok nerve agent, the same substance used in a 2018 murder attempt against former Russian spy Sergei Skripal on British soil.

The findings prompted Chancellor Angela Merkel to issue an uncharacteristically sharp rebuke -- accusing the assailants of wanting to silence Navalny -- and pledge a coordinated response with European Union and NATO allies.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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