• In his first public message since being poisoned, Alexei Navalny on Tuesday said he is recovering and finally able to breathe on his own. 
  • Navalny, a prominent critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, has been recovering in a German hospital since he was poisoned in Siberia in late August.
  • Navalny’s press secretary said he plans to return to Russia. 
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Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny on Tuesday posted a picture on Instagram for the first time since he fell ill after being poisoned last month.

“Hi, this is Navalny,” Navalny said in Russian in the caption, which was translated by CNN. “I miss you. I still can hardly do anything, but yesterday I was able to breathe on my own for the whole day. Just myself. I did not use any outside help, not even the simplest valve in my throat.”

This was Navalny’s first public message since being poisoned. 

Navalny, the most prominent opponent of Russian President Vladimir Putin, is recovering in a German hospital after getting sick on a flight back to Moscow from Siberia in late August. His aides immediately suspected he’d been poisoned. After an emergency landing, Navalny was first taken to a hospital in Siberia, where doctors rejected the notion he’d been poisoned. 

Russian authorities initially barred Navalny from being medically evacuated from the country, but he was eventually permitted to travel to Germany for further treatment. 

After he was transferred to Germany, the nerve agent Novichok was found in Navalny’s system. Novichok has been used to poison other Russian dissidents. 

The German government has demanded answers from the Kremlin over Navalny’s poisoning, but the Russian government has denied any involvement in the incident. The international community has joined Germany in condemning the incident, though President Donald Trump has faced criticism for barely acknowledging Navalny’s poisoning. 

Navalny, who has faced yearslong harassment from the Russian government, is the latest victim on a long list of Putin critics who were poisoned and/or killed. But the anti-corruption campaigner still plans to return to Russia, according to his press secretary, Kira Yarmysh.

“No other option was ever considered,” Yarmysh told CNN.

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