German Chancellor Merkel visited Russian opposition leader Navalny during poisoning treatment

German Chancellor Merkel visited Russian opposition leader Navalny during poisoning treatment
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German Chancellor Angela Merkel visited Russian dissident Alexei Navalny last week shortly before his discharge from a Berlin hospital, Navalny said Monday.

“I’m very grateful to Chancellor Merkel for visiting me in the hospital,” Navalny tweeted. “The meeting happened. It’s not worth calling it ‘secret.’ More a private meeting and conversation with the family.”

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Steffen Seibert, a spokesman for the German government, confirmed a “personal meeting” took place between the two last week, according to Bloomberg.

Navalny was rushed to a Berlin hospital last month after becoming ill on a domestic Russian flight. At the hospital, he was placed into a medically induced coma and diagnosed as having been poisoned with Novichok, a Soviet-era nerve agent also suspected in the poisoning of former spy Sergei Skripal.

Navalny awoke from the coma earlier this month and last week was released from the hospital. The German government has worked to pressure Russia to fully investigate Navalny’s suspected poisoning, suggesting a lucrative pipeline deal between the two nations may be at stake. The Kremlin has said it had no connection to Navalny’s illness and accused the German government of stymying the investigation.

The hospital where Navalny was treated was cautiously optimistic about his long-term health after his release from the hospital last week.

“Based on the patient’s progress and current condition, the treating physicians believe that complete recovery is possible. However, it remains too early to gauge the potential long-term effects of his severe poisoning," the hospital said in a statement.