The poisoned russian opposition activist, alexei navalny, has been discharged from hospital and has a chance of complete recovery, officials and doctors treating him in germany said on wednesday.
Mr navalny, the most vocal critic of russian president vladimir putin, had been treated at berlins charit hospital for suspected poisoning by the chemical agent novichok, and spent 24 days in intensive care.
Based on the patients progress and current condition, the treating physicians believe that complete recovery is possible, a statement from charit said. however, it remains too early to gauge the potential long-term effects of his severe poisoning.
Mr navalny fell ill on a flight from siberia on august 20. he was flown to berlin for treatment two days later.
Government spokesman steffen seibert confirmed the discharge at a press conference, but gave no information on where mr navalny had gone or what security measures were being taken.
Early in september, the german government announced that a toxicology test by a specialist military laboratory proved beyond all doubt that he was poisoned with novichok, a military-grade nerve agent developed by the soviet union. novichok was also used in the 2018 salisbury poisonings in the uk that targeted former russian intelligence officer sergei skripal and his daughter yulia.
The kremlin has denied any responsibility for the attack, but mr navalnys poisoning and subsequent treatment in germany have strained german-russian relations, already at a low after the murder of a chechen rebel in a berlin park last year and a huge hack on the bundestag computer system in 2015. moscow says the accusations are a pretext by us puppetmasters to introduce further sanctions against russias economy.
Mr navalny, russias most prominent anti-corruption activist, has vowed to return to russia to continue his activism and accused the kremlin of stonewalling attempts to find his poisoners.
Mr putins spokesman dmitry peskov said on wednesday that mr navalny has the right do to [return] at any moment, but added: no meetings [investigators] are planned here, if the patient himself does not have the desire and intention to share with our law enforcement officers the information that he actively shares with colleagues from germany.
German media reports, citing intelligence sources, said the novichok used on mr navalny was a new, far more potent formulation of the agent than that used on the skripals. the reports speculated that mr navalny survived only because of the swift action of the pilot who made an emergency landing, as well as the medics that immediately treated him.
Russia says it found no traces of novichok in mr navalny's system and has suggested he might have been poisoned after he arrived in germany. mr peskov on wednesday repeated moscows demand for berlin to share information regarding the nerve agent used.
Officials and state media have issued a series of contradictory claims to muddy the waters, including that mr navalny was poisoned by his own allies on instructions from the cia, or that he fell into a diabetic coma. russian officials also accused his team of taking evidence of the crime to germany despite refusing to investigate it themselves.
In a conversation last month, mr putin told his french counterpart emmanuel macron, that mr navalny might have somehow poisoned himself with novichok, le monde reported on tuesday.
I cooked up some novichok in the kitchen. had a sip from a flask on the plane. fell into a coma, mr navalny joked on instagram. the end goal of my cunning plan was to die in a hospital in omsk and wind up in the omsk morgue so they could diagnose hed lived long enough as the cause of death. but putin beat me. you cant trick him that easily. so i was in a coma for 18 days but didnt get what i wanted. the provocation failed!