German Chancellor Angela Merkel visited Russian blogger Alexey Navalny when he was undergoing treatment in Berlin’s Charite hospital, Germany’s Der Spiegel wrote, citing sources.
According to Der Spiegel, Merkel’s "unusual move highlighted the German government’s solidarity with Alexey Navalny." She visited Navalny "in total secrecy."
The news outlet added that Merkel’s visit proved that the German chancellor was unwilling to soft-pedal the Navalny case and would continue trying to establish the circumstances of the incident that happened to him, TASS reports.
Navalny was rushed to a local hospital in the Siberian city of Omsk on August 20 after collapsing on a Moscow-bound flight from Tomsk. He fell into a coma and was put on a ventilator in an intensive care unit. On August 22, he was airlifted to Berlin and admitted to the Charite hospital.
On September 2, Berlin claimed that having examined Navalny’s test samples, German government toxicologists had come to the conclusion that the blogger had been affected by a toxic agent belonging to the Novichok family.
Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Russia was ready for comprehensive cooperation with Germany. He pointed out that no poisonous substances had been detected in Navalny’s system prior to his transfer to Berlin. Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that the German Foreign Office had not provided the Russian ambassador with any proof of its version of the incident.