Moment Russian opposition leader ‘screams from plane after poison put in tea’

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The leader of the Russian opposition was caught on video screaming from a plane toilet after he was allegedly poisoned during a flight to Moscow today.

Alexei Navalny, 44, who is also an outspoken critic of Vladimir Putin, was rushed to hospital in "grave condition" and is unconscious after the pilot made an emergency landing at Omsk.

Passengers on the same flight, which took off from Tomsk in Siberia, claim they could hear his screams for help.

In a clip, recorded by a fellow traveler, medics walk down the middle aisle of the plane while a man screams in the background, sounding as if he is in severe pain.

Other passengers appear to either be trying to ignore the sounds or watch anxiously as the paramedics arrive.

The video has been watched more than 18,000 times since it was circulated on social media by a Russian news site this morning.

In the caption, it says: "Passengers say that Navalny went to the toilet during the flight and did not return.

"They heard him cry for help."

Navalny’s spokeswoman Kira Yarmsh wrote on Twitter: "We believe Alexei was poisoned by something mixed into his tea.

"It was the only thing he drank in the morning."

In a series of Tweets, Yarmsh recalled what had happened on the flight when it first became clear something was wrong.

She said that Navalny “was feeling unwell and asked me for a napkin, he was sweating.

"He asked me to speak to him because he needed to concentrate on the sound of the voice.

"I was talking to him, then they brought a trolley with water.

"I asked if water would help, he said no.

"Then he went to the toilet, and after that he fainted."

Last year, Navalny fell sick while in prison for organising "unauthorised protests".

He was hospitalised for a "severe allergic reaction" when his face swelled up and his skin turned red, despite not having had a history of allergies, according to his press secretary.

"One year ago, Alexei was poisoned when he was in jail," Yarmsh wrote.

"Clearly the same thing has happened again."

Yarmsh said that Navalny is currently in hospital on a ventilator has not regained consciousness.

In March, Navalny announced he was lodging a complaint against Russia at the European Court of Human Rights to contest a money laundering investigation he said was bogus and an attempt to thwart his political activities.

“The endless searches, seizures of equipment and freezing of bank accounts greatly interferes with our activities,” Navalny said.

Russia’s Justice Ministry formally labelled Navalny’s anti-corruption group a "foreign agent" in October last year, meaning it can be subjected to spot checks.

Navalny was barred from running for president in 2018 because of a past conviction on charges he claimed were trumped up.

Putin won that election in a landslide.

  • Vladimir Putin
  • Russia
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