Alexei Navalny’s doctors in Germany have made contact with Bulgarian colleagues on suspicion that the prominent Kremlin critic may have been poisoned with a similar substance as a local arms dealer in 2015, the Der Spiegel news magazine reported.
Doctors at Berlin’s Charité hospital said they believe Navalny was poisoned with an unknown substance belonging to a group of chemicals used as drugs, insecticides and nerve agents. In 2015, Bulgarian doctors determined that arms dealer Emilian Grebev was poisoned but were unable to identify the substance.
Without citing sources, Der Spiegel reported that German physicians have now made contact with their Bulgarian colleagues regarding the Navalny case.
“Obviously, they consider it possible that the same or very similar substances were used,” Der Spiegel wrote.
Der Spiegel said its joint findings with the investigative outlet Bellingcat led it to believe that Navalny was exposed to a substance belonging to a wide range of organic compounds known as organophosphates.
Last fall, the two outlets identified eight apparent Russian military intelligence officers as having traveled in and out of Bulgaria in the weeks before and after Gebrev’s poisoning.
Bulgaria reopened Gebrev’s case in 2018 when the surviving arms dealer linked his poisoning to that of former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Britain that year.
Meanwhile, the Kommersant daily reported that doctors in the Siberian city of Omsk where Navalny was initially hospitalized last week performed 59 various tests and analyses in the 44 hours he spent there before being airlifted to Germany.
They ruled out poisoning and diagnosed Navalny with metabolic disease.
Navalny, Kara-Murza Tailed by Same FSB Squad Before Alleged Poisonings
Vladimir Kara-Murza, a prominent Kremlin critic who survived two suspected poisonings, was likely tailed by the same chemical weapons squad that allegedly poisoned Alexei Navalny, the Bellingcat investigative outlet reported in a joint investigation with The Insider and Der Spiegel.
Bellingcat analyzed travel data which showed that in both cases, in 2015 and 2017, Kara-Murza was followed on trips to various cities in Russia by the same members of the FSB operative team Bellingcat says poisoned Navalny and three other opposition figures.
Kara-Murza worked as an aide to Kremlin critic and politician Boris Nemtsov, who was shot dead in 2015 on a bridge near Moscow’s Red Square.
Bellingcat said the earliest tailing of Kara-Murza by the FSB’s alleged poisoning unit that its investigation found was just three days before Nemtsov’s assassination.
That same year, Kara-Murza was poisoned for the first time after coming back from a trip to Kazan, during which he was tailed by the FSB squad, according to Bellingcat.
“The same team would continue tailing him until he was poisoned for the second time on Feb. 1, 2017,” the report said.
Two Russian hospital reports and three international examinations have failed to establish what caused Kara-Murza to fall into a coma.
Kara-Murza is now based in Washington DC where he continues his opposition efforts and works with U.S. lobbyists.