Popov: Alexei Navalny's team considered seeking treatment in Estonia

Dr. Arkadi Popov.
Dr. Arkadi Popov. Source: ERR

Alexei Navalny's team considered bringing the opposition leader to Estonia for treatment after he was poisoned in August, said Arkadi Popov, head of the ambulance center of the North Estonian Medical Center on Saturday.

"Estonia was ready to receive him," Popov said on Vikerraadio program "Kajalood". According to Popov, immediately after he was poisoned on August 20, Navalny's representatives started to discuss bringing him to Estonia for treatment.

Popov said he discussed the idea with his team at the North Estonian Medical Center in Tallinn who quickly agreed to the proposal. It was also approved on a "higher level".

However, since the detection of poison is not very common in Estonia, turning to other countries, such as NATO countries, for help was a good idea, Popov said.

"I deeply doubt that we would have been able to determine the substances that were later discovered in Navalny's body," he noted. "But we could have offered supportive care."

He said he breathed a sigh of relief when it became known that Navalny would be taken to the Charite Hospital in Berlin, where tests later detected the novichok nerve agent.

"At the same time, we were constantly negotiating with his colleagues and doctors. But it was the best thing to happen," Popov said.

Navalny fell ill on August 20 on a flight from Siberia to Moscow. He was initially treated at a regional hospital in Omsk, but was then flown to Germany. His team were repeatedly denied the opportunity to remove him from hospital in Omsk to seek treatment elsewhere. He spent 32 days in hospital, 24 of them in the intensive care unit.

Samples analyzed in Germany, France and Sweden gave positive results for novichok.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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