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Navalny ‘is free’ to return to Russia: Kremlin

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This handout picture posted on September 23, 2020 on the Instagram account of @navalny shows Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny sitting on a bench in Berlin. – Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who the West believes was poisoned with a Soviet-era nerve agent, has been discharged from hospital after a month, his doctors in Berlin said on September 23, 2020. (Photo by Handout / Instagram account @navalny / AFP) / –


Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny is welcome to return to Moscow, the Kremlin said Wednesday after he was discharged from a German hospital that treated him for poisoning.

Navalny, who the West believes was poisoned with a Soviet-era nerve agent, was released from hospital after a month, his doctors in Berlin said earlier Wednesday.

“As regards his returning to Moscow, like any other Russian citizen, he is free to do so at any moment,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, according to Russian news agencies.

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The Kremlin critic spent 32 days in Charite hospital in Berlin after he fell ill on a flight from Siberia to Moscow in what his allies say was a state-sanctioned poisoning attack.

In keeping with the Kremlin’s tradition of not using Navalny’s name, Peskov said he would welcome news that “the patient really is getting better,” and wished him “a speedy recovery”.

On Tuesday, Le Monde newspaper reported, citing sources, that Russian President Vladimir Putin had suggested that Navalny might have taken the poison himself “for a non-specified reason”.

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Reacting to the report, Navalny said in a sarcastic post on Instagram that “that’s a good version”.

Peskov on Wednesday said the French newspaper had misrepresented a recent conversation between Putin and French leader Emmanuel Macron and that the report was “imprecise”.

The Kremlin has dismissed claims that the Russian state was behind Navalny’s poisoning as “absurd”.

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