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Russian opposition leader Navalny shows indications of poisoning: German hospital

FILE PHOTO: Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny, his wife Yulia and opposition figure Lyubov Sobol take part in a rally to mark the 5th anniversary of opposition politician Boris Nemtsov's murder and to protest against proposed amendments to the country's constitution, in Moscow, Russia February 29, 2020. REUTERS/Shamil Zhumatov/File Photo

BERLIN (Reuters) - A clinical examination of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, in a medically induced coma in a German hospital after collapsing on a plane in Siberia, has found indications of poisoning, the Charite hospital in Berlin said on Monday.

Navalny, a long-time opponent of Russian President Vladimir Putin, fell ill while campaigning in Siberia on Thursday and was airlifted to Germany for treatment on Saturday.

“The team of doctors examined the patient in detail after his arrival. The clinical findings indicate poisoning by a substance from the group of active substances called cholinesterase inhibitors,” the hospital said in a statement.

Navalny is still in an artificial coma at the hospital’s intensive care unit. “His health is serious, but there is currently no acute danger to his life,” the statement said.

Doctors said the substance found in Navalny was not yet know but was some kind of cholinesterase inhibitor. They have started another broad analysis, adding that the effect of the toxic substance in the body had been proven several times by independent laboratories.

Navalny is now treated with the antidote atropine but the outcome remains uncertain as long-term effects, especially in the nervous system, cannot be ruled out at this point, the statement said.

A German government spokesman said earlier in Monday that authorities had placed Navalny under guard in hospital after determining that he had most likely been poisoned while campaigning in Siberia.

Reporting by Michael Nienaber,; Editing by Alison Williams and Jon Boyle