New Delhi (NVI): Five months after he was poisoned with nerve agent Novichok, Russian opposition leader and Kremlin critic Alexey Navalny was detained by police at a Moscow airport today as he returned home, foreign media reports said.
Navalny, who is a fierce critic of Putin, was accompanied by his wife and was detained by Russian police at Sheremetyevo airport in Moscow, said a CNN report.
The Russian opposition leader returned to Moscow after a five-month stay with his wife in Germany where he was recovering from the poisoning. The couple landed at Sheremetyevo airport around 8 pm (local time).
The CNN report said that Navalny was confident on his return to Russia. “Everyone is asking me if I’m scared. I am not afraid,” he told CNN. “I feel completely fine walking towards the border control. I know that I will leave and go home because I’m right and all the criminal cases against me are fabricated,” he said.
Last month, Navalny was placed on Russia’s federal wanted list for violating terms of probation related to a years-old fraud case. However, the Russian opposition leader has dismissed the charges as politically motivated.
Navalny has been a vocal critic of the Russian government under Putin.
A joint investigation by CNN and the group Bellingcat has implicated the Russian Security Service (FSB) in Navalny’s August poisoning. The investigation report claims that an elite unit at the agency followed Navalny’s team throughout a trip to Siberia, when Navalny fell ill from exposure to military-grade Novichok.
The FSB unit included chemical weapons experts, who had followed Navalny on more than 30 trips to and from Moscow since 2017.
On the other hand, the Russian government has denied involvement in Navalny’s poisoning. Russian President Vladimir Putin had himself said in December that if Russian security services had wanted to kill Navalny, they “would have finished” the job.
However, several Western officials and Navalny himself have openly blamed the Kremlin, reports CNN.