French President Emmanuel Macron has offered his country's help to Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny following his alleged poisoning, while other world leaders reacted to the sudden illness of the vocal foe of President Vladimir Putin.
Macron told reporters Thursday that France offered the opposition leader and his family help with medical care or other unspecified protections.
“We are extremely worried and saddened,” Macron said, insisting on the need to clarify what happened.
Navalny remains hospitalized in a coma following what his aides believe was a deliberate poisoning linked to his political activity. The 44-year-old has been a thorn in the Kremlin’s side, leading an anti-corruption crusade that has exposed government officials of using their authority for personal gain.
Navalny was placed on a ventilator in a hospital intensive care unit in Siberia after falling ill from suspected poisoning during a flight, his spokeswoman said Thursday. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin, File)
As doctors have yet to confirm a diagnosis, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said it was necessary to wait for the test results showing what caused Navalny's condition.
Although Russia has not fully reopened its borders after a coronavirus lockdown, Peskov said authorities would consider a request to allow Navalny to leave the country for treatment.
Meanwhile, reports of the Putin critic's alleged poisoning have caught the attention of other world leaders.
Speaking at the White House, President Trump said U.S. officials were looking at the situation surrounding the opposition leader's illness, Reuters reported.
British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said in a tweet that he was “deeply concerned” by the reports about the suspected poisoning of the politician.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, speaking at a joint news conference with Macron, said Germany also will insist on transparency regarding Navalny’s illness and expressed support for him.
“Obviously Germany will let him have all the medical help that is needed also in German hospitals,” Merkel said. “But that must of course be a wish expressed from there.”
“What is also very important is that it will be clarified very urgently how it could come to the situation,” Merkel added.
Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius tweeted that the reports about alleged poisoning were “very worrying."
“If confirmed, those responsible must face consequences,” Linkevicius said.
Navalny had fallen ill on a flight returning to Moscow from Tomsk, a city in Siberia, and made an emergency landing in Omsk, Navalny's spokeswoman Kira Yarmysh said on Twitter. She told the Echo Moskvy radio station that he must have consumed poison in a tea he drank at an airport cafe before boarding the plane.
Navalny was on a ventilator in a hospital intensive care unit early Thursday His wife arrived at the hospital but could not immediately see him. His spokeswoman said doctors have not yet given permission for Navalny to have visitors. Doctors said he is stable but remains in a coma.
Like many other opposition politicians in Russia, Navalny has been frequently detained by law enforcement and harassed by pro-Kremlin groups. He is also not the first opposition figure to suffer from a mysterious poisoning.
Fox News' Amy Kellogg and The Associated Press contributed to this report.