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Navalny planning return to Russia on Sunday

Navalny planning return to Russia on Sunday
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Opposition leader Alexei Navalny plans to return to Russia on Sunday despite his alleged poisoning by Kremlin officials and warnings that he will be subject to arrest after arriving in Moscow.

Navalny said Wednesday that he will fly to Moscow from Berlin, according to The Associated Press. The Kremlin has said Navalny will face immediate arrest upon return for violating the terms of an earlier conviction, which he has said was political in nature.

Russia’s Federal Penitentiary Service said last week it had issued an arrest warrant after Navalny did not report to its office and that it is “obliged to take all the necessary action to detain Navalny pending the court’s ruling.”

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The opposition leader is set to land at Vnukovo Airport in Moscow, to the AP noted. While crowds of his supporters were expected to assemble in the terminal, airport officials have banned journalists, saying crowds would be a coronavirus hazard. The airport has increased security and parked numerous prisoner-transport vehicles outside.

Navalny became ill on a flight from Siberia in August, and was transferred to a Berlin hospital, where doctors diagnosed him as having been poisoned with Novichok, a Cold War-era nerve agent. Russian officials have denied poisoning him and have claimed there is no evidence he was poisoned.

Last month, Navalny released a recording of a phone call between himself and the leader of a Russian security agency toxins squad. In the call, the man, believing Navalny to be another Russian intelligence official, seemingly confirms the intelligence service targeted Navalny and says the poison was applied to the inseam of his underpants. The Kremlin has continued to deny culpability since the release of the recording, and a spokesperson for Russian President Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinBiden administration to respond to Russian hacking, poisoning in 'weeks not months' The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by The AIDS Institute - Tanden's odds plummet to lead OMB Hearings examine consequences of massive SolarWinds breach MORE has suggested Navalny suffers from a persecution complex.