Alexei Navalny posts picture from Berlin hospital, says he can breathe on his own
Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny poses with his family at Berlin's Charite hospital in this picture posted on his Instagram account on September 15, 2020. © AFP handout / @navalny Instagram account

Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny shared a picture from his hospital bed on Tuesday with the message that he was now able to breathe independently following his suspected poisoning last month.

"Hi, this is Navalny. I miss you all," he wrote in the caption to his Instagram followers. "I can still hardly do anything, but yesterday I could breathe all day on my own. Actually on my own."

Navalny, 44, was flown to Berlin for treatment at the Charite hospital two days after falling ill on a domestic flight in Russia on August 20.

A German military lab determined that Navalny was poisoned with Novichok, the same class of Soviet-era agent that Britain said was used on former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury, England, in 2018.

On Monday, the German government said tests by labs in France and Sweden backed up its findings.

The Kremlin has bristled at calls from German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other leaders to answer questions about the poisoning, denying any official involvement.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has accused the West of using the incident as a pretext to introduce new sanctions against Moscow.

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French President Emmanuel Macron’s office said he had expressed “deep concern over the criminal act” that targeted Navalny in a call with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday.

The Kremlin said Putin, for his part, “underlined the impropriety of unfounded accusations against the Russian side” and reiterated Russia’s demand for Germany to hand over analyses and samples linked to the incident.

Moscow has repeatedly refuted accusations that Russia was involved in Navalny's poisoning.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Tuesday that Moscow remained open to clearing up what happened to Navalny but that it needed access to the information on his case. He said Moscow did not understand why Russia was not being given the same access as the French and Swedish laboratories that were allowed to re-test Navalny's medical samples.