Doctors treating Alexei Navalny for a suspected poisoning have refused to launch him for evacuation to a clinic overseas, sparking a standoff together with his household and aides who say the Kremlin critic’s life is in peril in Russia.

The hospital’s choice was introduced simply an hour earlier than a aircraft was due to arrive to evacuate Navalny to Berlin’s Charité hospital. Navalny is in a coma and on a ventilator in a hospital within the Siberian metropolis of Omsk, after collapsing on a flight on Thursday.

The hospital’s chief physician, Alexander Murakhovsky, mentioned they didn’t consider Navalny had been poisoned however declined to identify the reason for his sudden sickness on Thursday.

Navalny’s press secretary Kira Yarmysh mentioned the choice to delay his evacuation to the European clinic was “an attempt on his life”.

Murakhovsky mentioned Navalny was too sick to be moved, regardless of saying simply hours earlier that his situation had improved. “Anything could happen. Even the worst could happen,” he mentioned.

Later, Murakhovsky mentioned doctors “do not believe that the patient has been poisoned”.

He added: “We have a diagnosis, we have complications … I can’t announce the diagnosis that we have made, but it has been told to his wife and the brother of our patient.”

Police detain a supporter of Alexei Navalny in entrance of the Federal Security Service constructing on Thursday. Photograph: Pavel Golovkin/AP

Navalny supporters have mentioned they consider the hospital is underneath strain to delay his switch to thwart a correct investigation into what caused his sudden illness, which compelled pilots to make an emergency touchdown as he screamed in agony.

“He’s not in a very good condition and we can’t trust this hospital,” Navalny’s spouse, Yulia, advised journalists on the hospital on Friday morning. “We demand they release him to us so we can treat him in an independent hospital with doctors whom we trust.”

Ivan Zhdanov, the director of Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation, mentioned a police official had advised him that they had discovered a “deadly substance” in Navalny’s blood, however refused to reveal which one, citing the continued investigation.

“This substance presents a risk to the life of not just Alexei, but those around him too,” the police official had mentioned, in accordance to Zhdanov. “Everyone around him should be wearing protective equipment.” Navalny’s workforce believed hospital officers have been stalling for time, probably till the poison left his system.

If confirmed as a poison assault, it could be the most recent in a collection of high-profile assaults, often with poison, in opposition to opposition figures and Russian dissidents that features the 2018 poisoning of Sergei Skripal and the 2015 capturing demise of the opposition politician Boris Nemtsov.

Yulia (centre) and Oleg (fourth left), wife and brother of Navalny, and Anastasia Vasilyeva (second left), his personal physician, outside the hospital in Omsk.

Yulia (centre) and Oleg (fourth left), spouse and brother of Navalny, and Anastasia Vasilyeva (second left), his private doctor, outdoors the hospital in Omsk. Photograph: Alexey Malgavko/Reuters

A aircraft left Nuremberg with a medical workforce within the early hours of Friday and, in accordance to German media, would head to Omsk earlier than returning to Berlin with Navalny, the place the Charité hospital was prepared to deal with him.

Jaka Bizilj, the founding father of the German NGO Cinema for Peace Foundation, told the newspaper Bild: “The plane is in the air, we have all the necessary paper and hope that Alexei is ready for transport tomorrow morning so that we can fly to Berlin.”

The Kremlin had earlier signalled it could authorise the evacuation, regardless of bans on direct flights to EU international locations due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Kremlin spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, mentioned he would, if requested, assist facilitate Navalny’s switch for remedy overseas. Navalny supporters appealed to him on Thursday night.

Yarmysh, the press secretary to Navalny, earlier voiced fears hospital officers might impede the method of taking the distinguished critic of the president, Vladimir Putin, overseas.

In a video assertion launched on Thursday evening, she mentioned: “We ask the management of the hospital where Alexei is lying now not to obstruct us in obtaining all the documents necessary for his transfer.”

Navalny was flying from Tomsk in Siberia to Moscow on Thursday when he abruptly fell in poor health and misplaced consciousness, prompting the captain to make an emergency touchdown in Omsk. Mobile video shot on the aircraft confirmed medical personnel dashing onboard as Navalny screamed.

The suspected poisoning has attracted world consideration. The White House nationwide safety adviser, Robert O’Brien, mentioned the information was “extraordinarily concerning” and will have an effect on US-Russia relations.

“He’s a very courageous man. He is a very courageous politician to have stood up to Putin inside Russia, and our thoughts and our prayers are with him and his family,” O’Brien advised Fox News. “If the Russians were behind this … it’s something that we’re going to factor into how we deal with the Russians going forward.”

The German chancellor, Angela Merkel, joined the French president, Emmanuel Macron, in expressing concern over Navalny’s situation and mentioned he might obtain remedy in Germany or France.

“I hope that he can recover and naturally whether it be in France or in Germany he can receive from us all the help and medical support needed,” Merkel mentioned in a joint information convention with Macron.

Peskov had wished Navalny a “speedy recovery” and mentioned claims of poisoning have been “only assumptions” till exams proved in any other case.

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