İrem UZUN -TDO- Leading Russian opposition activist Alexei Navalny says he believes President Vladimir Putin was responsible for his poisoning. "I assert that Putin is behind this act, I don't see any other explanation," he told German news magazine Der Spiegel in an interview.

Germany, which currently holds the EU's rotating presidency, has said toxicology tests show Navalny was poisoned by the military grade nerve agent Novichok. France and Sweden have independently corroborated Germany's findings. "You don't feel any pain but you know you're dying," Navalny said of the moment that the nerve agent began to take effect on him. He said he was making a steady recovery and was now relearning how to balance on one leg. For now, Navalny is staying in Berlin with his wife and son as he undergoes the long process of rehabilitation.

Russian officials have variously suggested that Navalny was not poisoned at all, that he poisoned himself, or that western spy agencies poisoned him.  The Kremlin has repeatedly denied any involvement, and in response to Navalny’s claim, Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the accusations were “insulting and unacceptable”. Peskov also said he had information that Navalny was working with the CIA. “Specialists from the CIA are working with him during these days, and it’s not the first time that they have given him various instructions,” said Peskov. 

Vyacheslav Volodin, the speaker of the Russian Duma, called Navalny a “shameless scoundrel”. “Putin saved his life. If what happened to him was a specially directed operation by western security services then this accusation fits with the logic. He was saved by everyone, from the pilots and doctors to the president,” Volodin said.

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