Kremlin made 2nd botched attempt to poison Putin foe Alexei Navalny while he lay in coma but antidote was given

Known as Vladimir Putin's most feared opponent, Navalny was in a coma following an earlier attempt to assasinate him when the Kremlin hit squad tried poisoning him for the second time

                            Kremlin made 2nd botched attempt to poison Putin foe Alexei Navalny while he lay in coma but antidote was given
Vladimir Putin (Getty Images) and Alexei Navalny (Wikimedia Commons)

Alexei Navalny, standing against Vladimir Putin as the most leading opposition figure in Russia, was attacked by state security agents, reports say. A second dose of poison was administered to afflicted Navalny just before he was to be flown to Germany for a life-saving treatment, western intelligence sources have claimed. They spoke to The Times that state security agents are suspected to have tried to finish off the lawyer, also the leader of the Russian opposition Progress Party, before he could get to safety. 

The anti-corruption activist made headlines globally last year in August after he fell ill on a flight from Siberia to Moscow after being targeted with the novichok nerve agent. He was sweating, disorientated, and filled with a sense of impending doom after which he collapsed in the aisle saying: “I’m dying, I’ve been poisoned.” It is believed that the first attempt at poisoning him was done with minute droplets of toxins being squirted onto his clothes by state security agents in his hotel room, hours before he boarded the flight. 

Vladimir Uglev, a retired Russian chemist who developed nerve agents, believes that the assassins would have been told to place novichok on the elastic waistband of Navalny's pants so that it would come into direct contact with his skin. After Navalny hit the floor, the pilot made an emergency landing in Omsk, in Southwestern Siberia where an ambulance crew injected him with atropine - a known antidote for certain types of poisons, that is thought to have saved his life twice. However, the 44-year-old's woes didn't seem to end there as spies are then said to have made yet another botched attempt in order to end his life. 

By the time the activist was being rushed to a nearby hospital, state security agents already were gearing up for Plan B in order to execute the assassination. German security sources told their partners in the United Kingdom that the assailants struck for the second time as Navalny lay in an induced coma before being put in a medical flight to Germany. “This was with a view to him being dead by the time he arrived in Berlin,” a source told the outlet.

Alastair Hay, professor of environmental toxicology at Leeds University, explaining how Navalny survived the second attempt at poisoning him, said, "Giving a second dose of novichok would undoubtedly increase the chances of killing. But if he were already ‘atropinised’ this would counteract the nerve agent, although it might mean prolonging his coma. The toxin would take longer to be degraded in the liver.”

Navalny is a fierce detractor of the government of the Russian Federation. Washington Post in the past has described him as "the man Putin fears most". In September, NATO warned that Russia will "try again" to kill him after he survived an earlier attempt on his life. Distressed agents had warned that despite western countries calling for tougher sanctions against Russia, it won't stop Moscow from striking again. The same month, Navalny had posted a picture of himself from his hospital bed in Germany wherein he joked about being finally able to breathe on his own after being poisoned. 

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