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Aleksei Navalny is shown during his transfer to a Berlin hospital for treatment. Doctors there concluded that Navalny was poisoned by the group of active substances called cholinesterase inhibitors.

Germany has called on Russia increase its efforts in the investigation of how opposition leader Aleksei Navalny, currently being treated at a Berlin hospital, fell critically ill.

Speaking on August 31 to French ambassadors in Paris, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas warned of "dark clouds" hanging over Europe's bilateral ties with Moscow, saying the continent's security was at risk.

"Of course, we have the expectation that Russia should contribute more to clearing up the Navalny case than it is doing at the moment," he said.

Navalny fell ill on a flight from Siberia to Moscow on August 20, forcing the plane he was traveling on to make an emergency landing in Omsk, where he spent two days in a hospital before being evacuated to Germany.

The 44-year-old remains in an intensive-care unit at the Charite Hospital in Berlin, where he is being kept in a medically induced coma.

'Extensive' Tests Under Way On Putin Foe Navalny After Transfer To Berlin Hospital
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Doctors at the renowned German hospital have concluded that Navalny was poisoned by the group of active substances called cholinesterase inhibitors. Cholinesterase are a group of chemicals that are found in several drugs, as well as in some pesticides and nerve agents. He is being treated with the antidote atropine.

Navalny’s team says he was deliberately poisoned and that the Kremlin had a role. Russian doctors said their tests did not find any trace of poison while they treated Navalny.

Navalny’s reported poisoning has prompted Western governments to call for full transparency, with policymakers mulling a number of responses if the Kremlin is confirmed to have had a role.

So far, Russian officials have brushed aside allegations Navalny was deliberately poisoned and have shown little indication they plan to fully investigate the case.

With reporting by Reuters, dpa, and DW

Yegor Zhukov was handed a three-year suspended sentence in December on extremism charges that he and his supporters have called politically motivated.

MOSCOW -- A prominent Russia blogger and activist known for his open criticism of the government, Yegor Zhukov, has been hospitalized after two unknown attackers beat him near his Moscow home.

Members of Zhukov's Team (Komanda Zhukova), the 22-year-old's political organization, said on Facebook that the activist was attacked late on August 30 after he took part in a live talk show with Maksim Kats on YouTube.

During the show he shared his views regarding the ongoing protests in neighboring Belarus, where thousands of demonstrators have been challenging the official results of the August 9 presidential election that gave incumbent President Alyaksandr Lukashenka a landslide victory.

In a photo posted by his colleagues on Facebook, Zhukov appears with deep bruises and lacerations on his face.

Zhukov's colleague, Yevgeny Ovcharov, told the Ekho Moskvy radio station that Zhukov was attacked at around 10 p.m. near his apartment block in Moscow by two assailants who escaped on motor scooters.

Moscow police said on August 31 that a probe was launched into the attack.

During the talk show, Zhukov called the protests in Belarus "a textbook example" that "should be thoroughly studied by those who want to achieve democratic change by peaceful means."

"A modern peaceful protest is a siege.... If there is a wall in front of you and you just keep hitting your head against that wall, then the wall will win.... The essence of peaceful protests is defeating Mike Tyson by chess," Zhukov said, in a reference to the former heavyweight boxing champion.

Russian political commentators have repeatedly said that the Kremlin's biggest fear is a popular, peaceful uprising.

Zhukov, 22, was handed a three-year suspended sentence in December on extremism charges that he and his supporters have called politically motivated.

The charges against Zhukov related to four videos he posted on his YouTube channel in October and December 2017 that included clips of demonstrations and commentaries by the blogger on the protest movement and Russian politics.

Zhukov was arrested in August 2019 amid protests in Moscow to demand free and fair municipal elections. Dozens of people have been fined or given jail sentences over the rallies.

In his final court appearance on December 4 before his sentencing the next day, Zhukov made a statement harshly criticizing Russia's current political system for creating economic inequality for its citizens.

Zhukov's statement resonated across the country and made him prominent in Russia.

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"Watchdog" is a blog with a singular mission -- to monitor the latest developments concerning human rights, civil society, and press freedom. We'll pay particular attention to reports concerning countries in RFE/RL's broadcast region.

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