MOSCOW (Sputnik) – German Chancellor Angela Merkel paid a secret visit to Alexei Navalny while the Russian opposition blogger was undergoing treatment at Berlin’s Charite hospital, the German magazine Der Spiegel stated, citing its own sources.
Alexei Navalny has confirmed that German Chancellor Angela Merkel visited him at the Charite clinic, however, noting that he wouldn’t call it a “secret”, as described by Der Spiegel.
Taking to Twitter, the Russian opposition figure thanked Merkel for coming to see him. He added that it was a private meeting and a “conversation with the family”.
According to the German magazine, the visit took place in complete secrecy as the blogger was receiving medical care in the German capital. The exact date of Merkel’s alleged visit was not revealed.
Navalny was transported to Germany after he fell ill during a domestic Russian flight on 20 August and was initially treated in the Siberian city of Omsk, where the plane made an emergency landing. Two days later, once the doctors established he was fit for cross-border aerial transportation, he was flown to the German capital for further treatment at Charite.
German doctors initially said they had found traces of a substance from a group of cholinesterase inhibitors in his system, before claiming that traces of a nerve agent from the Novichok group were detected in Navalny’s system.
Moscow responded by pointing to the lack of evidence for Berlin’s claims and stressing that Russian doctors had found no toxic substances in Navalny. In this context, Moscow sent requests for legal assistance and more information on Navalny’s case. Germany, however, refused to share its information on the Navalny case with Moscow, claiming that it is a state secret.
Navalny was discharged from the hospital on 23 September and is expected to make a full recovery.