A photo of Navalny at Charité hospital in Berlin, posted on his Instagram feed on 15 September. Navalny fell ill on a flight from Tomsk to Moscow on 20 August. Photograph: AP
Associates of Alexei Navalny have said traces of novichok were found on a bottle of water in his hotel room in Tomsk, suggesting he was poisoned while in the Siberian city, and not, as previously suspected, from a cup of tea he drank at the airport.The Russian opposition leader fell ill on a flight from Tomsk to Moscow on 20 August. The plane made an emergency landing in Omsk, where he spent two days in a coma before being flown by a medical jet to Berlin. He remains in the Charité hospital in the German capital.
A video posted to Navalny’s Instagram account on Thursday morning showed a search of his hotel room after news of his illness and two empty plastic water bottles on a table. These were bagged and later given to German authorities along with other items from the room, according to the post.
“Two weeks later, a German laboratory found traces of novichok precisely on the bottle of water from the Tomsk hotel room,” the post said.
According to the post, some of Navalny’s team had stayed in Tomsk for an extra day. When they heard of his sudden illness and hospitalisation, they went to the hotel room where he had been staying and searched for evidence.
“We didn’t have a great hope of finding anything, but as we were clear that Navalny had not ‘got a bit ill’ … we decided to collect everything that could even hypothetically help, and pass it on to doctors in Germany. It was also pretty obvious there would not be an investigation in Russia,” it said.