On September 17th, Alexey Navalny’s team said that traces of poison, allegedly Novichok, were found on a water bottle from the hotel room in Siberia where he stayed before getting ill.
Despite this, a member of Navalny’s team said that the water bottle was not necessarily the item used to poison the Kremlin critic, suggesting the substance could have been placed on a different object.
“As we understand, the bottle was not the source of this poisonous substance but more likely as he drank from it … his mouth … left traces of [the poison] on the bottle,” Georgy Alburov, who works at Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation, said.
“We are guided by what the experts have said, which is that there was a small amount [of the substance], most likely just a trace of it [on the bottle],” he added.
Navalny fell ill on August 20th, on a flight from Tomsk to Moscow.
Alburov said he had remained in the Siberian city with several colleagues for an extra day to finish an investigative report on a local official.
He and his colleagues barely managed to get access to the Kremlin critic’s room to collect his personal items before it was cleaned.
“Just knowing the political history of Russia and knowing the state of Alexey’s health, it could not have been anything else but poisoning,” Alburov said.
“So our first thought was that we must preserve the maximum of what could have something to do with the poisoning, specifically items from his room,” he added.
“We put everything into plastic bags and sealed them, so no one would get hurt in case there was indeed some poison on them and so that nothing else could get inside.”
Alburov said that local police in Tomsk displayed “special interest” in the water bottles and tried to confiscate them.
“When the police questioned us, they were especially interested in the water bottles, weirdly, even though we took a lot of other items,” he said.
The bottles were then taken to Germany in the same medevac plane which was used to evacuate Navalny from Omsk, where his plane made an urgent landing, to Berlin’s Charite Hospital on August 22nd, where he remains.
“Two weeks later, it was on the bottle from Tomsk that the German laboratory found traces of Novichok,” Navalny’s team said on Instagram on September 17th. “And then two more laboratories that took tests from Alexey confirmed that Navalny was poisoned by it [Novichok].”
Navalny posted a photograph of himself sitting up in a hospital bed and surrounded by his family on September 15.
In his first direct message after his hospitalization, Navalny said he was now breathing on his own without medical support.
“Hi, this is Navalny,” the politician wrote in the caption.
“I miss you. I still can hardly do anything, but yesterday I was able to breathe on my own for the whole day. Just myself. I did not use any outside help, not even the simplest valve in my throat.”
MORE ON THE TOPIC:
- Navalny Poisoning: Recovered Bottle With ‘Novichok’ And Nordstream 2
- “Novichok” Does Not Work: Deadly-Poisoned Navalny Wakes Up