His opposing spokesman said that Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was taken into custody on Sunday after his return to Moscow, months after he was left in a coma when he was poisoned by a Novichok nerve agent .
Facing the threat of his arrest upon touching down, the leading Kremlin critic boarded a plane in Berlin, Germany, where he was evacuated from a hospital in Siberia in August for treatment at the insistence of his family.
The aircraft, which originally left for Moscow’s Winnukovo Airport, was flown to the capital’s Shermetovo airport shortly before landing, confirmed by Navy press officer Kira Yarmish. A tweet, Without explaining why the aircraft was re-run.
Yarmish posted a video of Navalny’s escape by authorities in Shermatevo, stating that he was detained without explanation and was not allowed to bring his lawyer. His current whereabouts and status are unknown, Yarmish tweeted on Sunday.
Russia’s federal peninsular service issued a statement to the state-run media agency TASS for allegedly “repeated violations of the probationary period” in which Navalny was allegedly detained. The statement said he would remain in custody until he appeared in court.
When 44-year-old Navalny was on air, Russia’s Doze TV broadcaster showed pictures of Navalny’s associates, including lawyer and politician Hunov Sobol, detained as they waited for the politician to arrive at Vanukovo Airport .
Inside and outside the airport, hundreds dismissed a warning from the Moscow prosecutor’s office to welcome Navalny when he touched down. Dozhd TV showed pictures of police detaining and rioting some supporters.
Security measures were also enhanced at the airport and many prisoner-transport trucks could be seen outside.
Wearing a green jacket and an hour before being carried in a small suitcase, Navalny boarded his Moscow-bound flight and waved at the throngs of journalists and other passengers before he was applauded by some who entered the plane Of.
“I am very happy today,” he said, adding that he felt “a Russian citizen who has every right to return home.”
Asked if he was worried about going back to Russia, Navalny said, “Why would I fear Russia? What could be worse with me in Russia?”
Navalny decided to return to Moscow on Wednesday, indicating his intention to continue his political struggle against Russian President Vladimir Putin.
In an online video message, he said that it did not cross his mind to return to Russia.
“That’s because I didn’t leave. I ended up in Germany – in an intensive care box – for one simple reason: They tried to kill me,” he said.
For more than a decade, a thorn in the Kremlin’s side, which he says is high-level corruption and mobilizing young protesters, fell ill on 20 August in a flight from Siberia’s city of Tomsk to Moscow.
The aircraft was forced to make an emergency landing in the city of Omsk, which is also in Siberia. There he was rushed to a hospital for treatment and placed in a medically induced coma.
Supporters of the anti-corruption campaigner, who was barred from challenging Putin for the Russian presidency in 2018, immediately said he believed he had been poisoned.
But Russian doctors said their initial investigation did not indicate that this was the case and instead suggested that they may have metabolic problems.
After a medical team flew in from Germany, the politician’s family insisted that he be transferred to Berlin for treatment.
Germany later concluded that the politician had been poisoned with Novichok, a Soviet-era military-grade nerve agent, and Navalny’s allies accused President Putin of being behind it.
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Although the Kremlin has denied all involvement, there is no evidence that Navalny was poisoned and refused to launch a criminal investigation into the incident. Moscow has also insisted that Navalny was free to return home like any Russian citizen.
His supporters fear that the politician may be jailed as his venom has elevated his status as the strongest enemy of the Russian government in the country and internationally.
In late December, the Federal Penitentiary Service warned Navalny that if he faced time in prison, he failed to report immediately to his office, consistent with the terms of his suspended sentence and probation for the 2014 sentence , Which was rejected by the politician as inspired by politics. The European Court for Human Rights has ruled that his sentence was illegal.
It said on Thursday that Navalny was on the wanted list, with an order to arrest him.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.