Poisoned Kremlin critic Navalny returning to Russia

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny says he plans to return to the country this weekend from Germany, where he has been recovering from a poisoning attack, despite facing a threat of jail.

The 44-year-old Kremlin critic says he booked a flight that will arrive in Moscow on Sunday.

“It was not my choice to come to Germany… I ended up here because they tried to kill me,” the anti-graft campaigner says in a video posted on his Instagram account.

Navalny says that he is “almost healthy” after the poisoning and can continue recovering at home, in Russia.

Allies say Navalny will arrive on a Pobeda airlines flight landing at Moscow’s Vnukovo airport on Sunday at 7:20 pm local time (1620 GMT).

“Come meet me,” Navalny says in the video.

In this handout photo published by Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny on his Instagram account on Sept. 22, 2020 (Navalny Instagram via AP)

Navalny has been in Germany since late August after he fell violently ill on a flight from Siberia to Moscow and was hospitalized in the city of Omsk. He was then flown out to Berlin in an induced coma.

Western experts concluded that Navalny was poisoned using the Soviet-designed nerve agent Novichok, the same chemical said to be used in the attempted murder of former spy Sergei Skripal in the English town of Salisbury in 2018.

Navalny insists the attack was carried out by Russia’s main security agency, the Federal Security Service (FSB), on the orders of President Vladimir Putin.