Navalny accused Putin of poisoning her and vowed to return to Russia

BERLIN (Reuters) – Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny told a German magazine that he believed Russian President Vladimir Putin was behind his suspected poisoning, but said he was not afraid and would return to Russia to launch a campaign.

Naval was brought to Berlin from Russia in August after falling ill on a domestic flight. Before being discharged in September, he was treated at a charity hospital in Germany for being poisoned by a potentially fatal nerve agent, Novichok.

“I believe Putin’s hand is behind this crime and I have no other versions of what happened,” Navalny told Der Spiegel, according to an interview extract due to be released later on Thursday.

The West has demanded an explanation from the Kremlin, which has denied any involvement in the incident and said it has not yet seen evidence of the crime.

“You are in no pain but you know you are dying.” Navalni said about the moment that the nerve agent began to affect him. He said he has been making steady improvements and is now telling how to keep balance on one foot.

Naval was accompanied by a visit to the magazine’s office fee by security guards, who insisted he should choose which bottle of water to drink from the fridge. His comrades said Novichok’s marks were found on a water bottle in his hotel room before taking off.

Navalny told Der Spiegel that he would return to Russia, adding: “My job now is to be fearless. And I have no fear! If my hands are shaking, it is because of the poison, not out of fear. I will give Putin the gift of not returning. ”

He and his wife currently live in a rented flat in Berlin, but he said he would start posting his popular video on the online video channel soon after returning to Russia. “I don’t want to be the Leader of the Opposition in exile.”

The politician, who was visited by Chancellor Angela Merkel in her hospital bed, said she felt a personal bond with Germany and was impressed by Merkel’s deep knowledge of Russia.

“My impression is that Merkel doesn’t need any advice from me.” “But any Russian strategy should take into account the depth of madness that Putin has now reached,” he said, adding that the time had passed when “Putin would not risk a conflict with Berlin.”

Reported by Michelle Adair and Maria Tsvetkova; Edited by Maria Sheehan and Philippa Fletcher