Poisoned Putin critic Alexei Navalny wakes up from coma and is 'responding to speech' after Novichok attack

POISINED Putin rival Alexei Navalny is out of his coma and is "responsive".

Berlin’s Charite hospital said today the Russian's condition has improved but “long-term consequences of the serious poisoning can still not be ruled out.”

German officials found traces of the nerve agent Novichok in his bloodstream, prompting medics to say the tests showed “proof without doubt” that he had been poisoned.

Witnesses said the politician was heard "screaming in agony" when he fell ill on the flight to Moscow on August 20.

The anti-corruption campaigner, 44, was left fighting for his life in a coma after his tea was allegedly spiked with the toxic substance at Tomsk airport in Siberia.

However, Russian scientist Vladimir Uglev, who claims he invented the radioactive material, said the assassins likely smeared it on his underwear or socks.

At the time, Navalny's press secretary tweeted from the Ambulance: "We assume that Alexei was poisoned with something mixed into the tea.

“It was the only thing that he drank in the morning. Doctors say the toxin was absorbed faster through the hot liquid. Alexey is now unconscious.”

The nerve agent was also used to poison MI6 double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury on March 3, 2018.

Navalny was placed in an induced coma after being flown out to Germany for treatment.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the use of Novichok was a clear sign the "dangerous" attack was an attempt to "silence" him.

Angela Merkel's spokesman Steffen Seibert said: "It is a shocking event that Alexei Navalny has become the victim of an attack with a chemical nerve agent in Russia.

"The federal government condemns this attack in the strongest terms."

He added:"[Germany] will discuss an appropriate joint response with the partners in the light of the Russian response."

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said he was "deeply concerned" by the use of Novichock and urged the Kremlin to "tell the truth" about what happened to Navalny.

He said: "It is absolutely unacceptable that this banned chemical weapon has been used again, and once more we see violence directed against a leading Russian opposition figure.

“The Russian government has a clear case to answer. It must tell the truth about what happened to Mr Navalny.

"We will work closely with Germany, our allies and international partners to demonstrate that there are consequences for using banned chemical weapons anywhere in the world.”

The fierce critic of the Kremlin and has been described as "the man Vladimir Putin fears most" by the Washington Post.

The activist, lawyer and leader of the Russian opposition Progress Party was hospitalised last year after developing an acute "mystery allergy" a day after mass protests in Moscow.

It came while Navalny was serving a 30-day jail sentence for calling for an unauthorised demonstration.

Some have suggested a political motive for Navalny's poisoning, with the well-known politician seen as a charismatic and potentially dangerous foe of the Kremlin.

He famously described Putin's ruling party, United Russia, as a "party of crooks and thieves" and labelled elections "rigged".

Navalny has faced constant legal attacks and has served a number of jail sentences.

And in 2015 his ally Boris Nemtsov was found murdered – rumoured by many to be linked to the Kremlin. 

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