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World News

Navalny needs at least a month to be fit, predicts activist

Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny sits on a bench while posing for a picture in Berlin, Germany, in this undated image obtained from social media September 23, 2020. Courtesy of Instagram @NAVALNY/Social Media via REUTERS

BERLIN (Reuters) - It will take Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny at least another month to regain fitness, said the activist who helped bring him to Germany for treatment, adding it was clear he planned to return to Russia and resume political activity.

Navalny made his first public appearance on Wednesday after being discharged from a Berlin hospital where Germany said he was being treated for poisoning by a potentially deadly nerve agent.

“He is still not 100% how he was before,” Jaka Bizilj, founder of the Cinema for Peace Foundation, told foreign journalists in Berlin on Thursday.

“When we got the first reports, we got the impression he had made a fast recovery and was fit but we have to be careful,” he said. “I think he will need at least a month to be fit again.”

Navalny was flown from Russia to Berlin last month after falling ill on a domestic flight in Siberia. The West has demanded an explanation from the Kremlin, which has denied any involvement in the incident and said it has yet to see evidence of a crime.

Bizilj, who had previously helped anti-Kremlin activist Pyotr Verzilov get treatment in Germany after a suspected poisoning, said he had no doubt Navalny would return to Russia.

“His chief of staff has made clear there is no doubt he wants to go back to Russia,” he said, adding he had not seen Navalny in person but was in contact with his team and family.

Reporting by Madeline Chambers; Editing by Michelle Martin

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