Russian opposition politician Navalny in hospital after suspected poisoning -spokeswoman

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MOSCOW — Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny is in a serious condition in a Siberian hospital after suffering severe symptoms of what his spokeswoman on Thursday said she believed was a deliberate poisoning.

Navalny, 44, is unconscious, in intensive care and on an artificial lung ventilator, his spokeswoman, Kira Yarmysh, said on social media.

“We assume that Alexei was poisoned with something mixed into his tea. It was the only thing that he drank in the morning. Doctors say the toxin was absorbed faster through the hot liquid. Alexei is now unconscious,” Yarmysh said.

Navalny, a fierce critic of President Vladimir Putin, had started feeling ill when returning to Moscow from Tomsk in Siberia by plane on Wednesday morning, she added.

He had drunk tea at a cafe at Tomsk airport before boarding his flight. The Interfax news agency quoted the cafe’s owners as saying they wee checking CCTV cameras to try to establish what had happened.

His plane later made an emergency landing in Omsk so that he could be rushed to hospital, Yarmysh said.

The TASS news agency cited the head doctor at a hospital in Omsk confirming that Navalny had been admitted there and saying he was in a serious condition.