Authorities in Russia are reportedly moving forward with an investigation into the suspected poisoning of prominent opposition leader and outspoken Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny.
The Siberian branch of Russia’s Interior Ministry said in a statement Thursday that investigators were trying to establish all the circumstances surrounding the incident, according to The Associated Press. Investigators are reportedly conducting forensic studies and collecting items that could be of value for the probe.
Navalny, an anti-corruption activist and critic of Russian President Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinEquilibrium/Sustainability — Presented by Southern Company — Nations plan to pump oil despite net zero promises Major Russian hacking group linked to ransomware attack on Sinclair: report Putin orders workers home for one week as COVID-19 deaths soar MORE, was hospitalized last week after falling ill on a flight returning to Moscow from Siberia. The flight made an emergency landing in Omsk after the politician's condition rapidly worsened. Navalny's spokesperson alleged that he was intentionally "poisoned with something mixed into the tea" before his flight.
Navalny was transferred to a hospital in Germany just days after he fell ill. Doctors at the hospital said Tuesday that tests indicated he had been poisoned. However, they said the exact substance that caused his illness is unknown.
Doctors said his condition remained serious and that he was in an artificial coma.
Aides to Navalny reportedly called on Russia's Investigative Committee to launch an investigation into the attempted killing of a public figure. But Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Monday a criminal probe would not be launched until more was learned about the cause of Navalny's illness, AP reported. The Kremlin has also said the German hospital's diagnosis is not yet conclusive, according to Reuters.
Officials from the United States and the European Union have publicly voiced support for an investigation into the suspected poisoning.
“The United States is deeply concerned by reported preliminary conclusions from German medical experts that Russian opposition activist Aleksey Navalny was poisoned," Pompeo said in a statement. "If the reports prove accurate, the United States supports the EU’s call for a comprehensive investigation and stands ready to assist in that effort."