Russian doctors claimed Monday that they saved the life of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, who has been in a coma following allegations that he was poisoned – and denied there was any official interference in his treatment, according to reports.
The doctors at the Siberian hospital where the dissident was first treated before being flown Germany said they had not found any traces of poison in his system, Reuters reported.
“We saved his life with great effort and work,” chief doctor Alexander Murakhovsky said during a news conference in the Siberian capital of Omsk, where Navalny’s plane to Moscow made an emergency landing Thursday.
Anatoly Kalinichenko, a senior doctor at the hospital, told reporters: “If we had found some kind of poison that was somehow confirmed then it would have been a lot easier for us.
“It would have been a clear diagnosis, a clear condition and a well-known course of treatment,” he added.
The Omsk regional health ministry said this weekend that caffeine and alcohol were found in Navalny’s urine, but “no convulsive or synthetic poisons were detected.”
“Yes, of course we found substances,” Kalinichenko said, adding that Navalny did not have alcohol poisoning, Agence France-Presse reported.
Navalny’s aides have said they believe he was poisoned with a cup of tea, pointing the blame at President Vladimir Putin.
On Saturday, the 44-year-old was airlifted to Belin’s Charite hospital, where he was reported to be in stable condition.
His allies have accused doctors of holding up his evacuation to Germany. Russian doctors initially said he was not in a condition to be transported there for treatment.
On Monday, the doctors in Siberia did not say what exactly they had done to save his life – or what they had treated him for. Last week, they said they had diagnosed him with metabolic disease possibly brought on by low blood sugar.
The doctors also denied they were influenced by officials while treating him.
“There was no influence on the treatment of the patient a priori and there couldn’t have been any,” Murakhovsky, said. “We didn’t agree any diagnoses with anyone. There was no pressure on us from any doctors or any other forces.”
Meanwhile, Jaka Bizilj, founder of Germany’s Cinema for Peace Foundation, told the news outlet Bild over the weekend that Navalny would survive.
“Navalny will survive the poison attack, but be incapacitated for months as a politician,” Bizilj said.
But Kira Yarmysh, Navalny’s spokeswoman, said there were still no new details about his condition and that only she or the doctors treating him would be able to provide accurate information.
With Post wires