(CNN)A medical evacuation flight carrying Alexey Navalny has left Omsk and is on its way to Germany, after the Russian opposition leader fell gravely ill in a suspected poisoning.
In a tweet marking the departure Saturday, his spokesperson Kira Yarmysh wrote: “The plane with Alexey flew to Berlin. Many thanks to everyone for their support. The struggle for Alexey’s life and health just begins, and there is still a lot to go through, but now at least the first step has been taken.”In an earlier tweet, Yarmysh posted a photo showing Navalny’s stretcher being put onto the air ambulance. “Alexey is taken to the medical aircraft. Yulia is with him,” she wrote. Yulia is Navalny’s wife.An air ambulance carrying Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny departs the Siberian city of Omsk on Augus 22.Navalny, a critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, is in a coma after becoming sick from suspected poisoning on a flight to Moscow from the Siberian city of Tomsk, Yarmysh said Thursday. The plane later made an urgent landing in Omsk, she added.On Friday, Russian doctors treating the anti-corruption blogger gave his team permission to move him.Read More”We do not object to his transfer to another hospital,” Anatoly Kalinichenko, deputy chief physician at the hospital where Navalny is being treated, told reporters, according to TASS.The Siberian hospital treating Navalny has rejected claims the Russian opposition leader had been poisoned on Friday — even as his wife said the doctors there could not be trusted.Russian dissident Navalny to be moved to Germany, doctor tells state media RIA Novosti quoted the deputy head doctor as saying: “We have requests from relatives to transport [him]. They take this risk upon themselves, we do not mind.”On Friday, Kalinichenko, the deputy head physician, said no poisons were found in Navalny’s blood or urine.”We don’t believe that the patient suffered poisoning,” Kalinichenko told local journalists in a news conference.”Poisons or traces of their presence in the body have not been identified. Probably, the diagnosis of ‘poisoning’ remains somewhere in the back of our minds. But we do not believe that the patient suffered poisoning,” he added.Navalny’s team claims that transport police in Omsk have detected a “deadly substance” that poses a threat to his life and the lives of those around him and say this is the reason why the hospital initially did not allow him to be moved.TASS also reported Friday that an “industrial chemical” identified in samples taken from Navalny was a non-toxic substance commonly found in plastic products, citing the regional branch of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.