Alexei Navalny – a longtime critic of Vladimir Putin – has announced that he will return to Russia after recovering from poisoning, although there is a risk of arrest if he arrives.
The opposition politician announced on Wednesday that he would fly back from Germany on Sunday, where he recovered after coming into contact with a Novichok nerve agent in August.
Mr Navalny, 44, said on Instagram that he has likely recovered almost completely and would keep returning: “It was never a question of whether or not to return. Simply because I never left.
“I ended up in an intensive care unit in Germany for one reason: They tried to kill me.”
His vow comes a day after Russian authorities requested that a suspended sentence be converted to a real prison sentence, but he made it clear that he was not concerned.
“”[President Vladimir Putin’s] Servants are acting as usual, fabricating new criminal cases against me, “he added.
“But I’m not interested in what they’re going to do to me. Russia is my country, Moscow is my city and I miss it,” he wrote.
Russia has consistently stake in the Poisoning of Mr. Navalny at a Russian airport in August and said it saw no evidence that he was poisoned.
Mr Navalny fell seriously ill on a flight from the Siberian city of Tomsk to Moscow.
After an emergency landing in Omsk, he was later flown to Germany for treatment.
The German authorities later announced that Mr Navalny had been poisoned with one Novichok Nerve agent – the same type of substance against Sergei and Yulia Skripal, a former Russian double agent and his daughter, poisoned in Salisbury in 2018.
An investigation of journalists at Bellingcat and The Insider found “extensive telecommunications and travel data that involved the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) in the poisoning”.
His report stated that the attack was “ordered at the highest level in the US Kremlin“, a view supported by Germany and other Western nations.
According to investigators, the opposition politician had been persecuted by a group of state security forces for almost four years.
In a notable follow-up to this report, Mr Navalny himself tricked one of his assassins into an obvious confession teasing stunning details of the operation during a prank call.
The Russian Federal Prison Service (FSIN) ordered Mr Navalny last month to fly back immediately and report to a Moscow office or be detained if he does not return on time.
He and his allies have accused the Russian authorities of trying to scare him ahead of the parliamentary elections in September.
The Kremlin has said that Mr. Navalny can return to Russia at any time like any other Russian citizen.