Alexei Navalny posted a photo of himself leaving hospital after 32 days, and the scars on his neck match those on a previous Novichok victim

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A composite image of Alexei Navalny in a photo posted September 22, 2020; and Yulia Skripal in London on May 23, 2018. Both photos were taken after they were released from the hospital following Novichok poisoning.
  • Alexei Navalny left a Berlin hospital on Tuesday with new scars that mirror those seen on other victims of Novichok poisoning.
  • Navalny, the chief critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, fell ill in Siberia on August 20. German doctors have since said that Navalny was poisoned with Novichok.
  • Yulia Skripal, the daughter of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal, was poisoned with Novichok in March 2018, and was also seen with the scars when she left the hospital.
  • The scars suggest a tracheotomy, a surgical procedure that opens a person's windpipe to help them breathe.
  • Navalny spent 32 days at Berlin's Charité hospital following his poisoning, 24 of which were spent in intensive care. His team says he plans to return to Russia.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Alexei Navalny ended a monthlong stay in the hospital on Tuesday bearing scars on his neck similar to those sported by other victims of Novichok poison.

Vladimir Putin's most vocal opponent fell ill on August 20 and was evacuated to Berlin for treatment following 24 hours in a coma at a hospital in Omsk, Siberia. German doctors later concluded that he was poisoned with the deadly Novichok nerve agent.

In a Wednesday statement, the Charité hospital said Navalny was released from its care on Tuesday after a 32-day stay, of which 24 days were spent in intensive care.

Navalny on Tuesday also posted a photo of himself sporting multiple scars on his neck, which he did not have prior to the poisoning.

«Владимир Путин сообщил французскому коллеге: «Навальный мог сам проглотить этот яд». Хорошая версия. Считаю, что заслуживает самого пристального изучения. Сварил на кухне «Новичок». Тихо отхлебнул из фляжки в самолете. Впал в кому. До этого договорился с женой, друзьями и коллегами, что, если Минздрав будет настаивать, чтоб меня увезли лечить в Германию, они ни в коем случае не позволяли это сделать. Помереть в омской больнице и оказаться в омском морге, где установили бы причину смерти «пожил достаточно», - вот конечная цель моего хитрого плана. Но Путин меня переиграл. Его просто так не проведёшь. В итоге я, как дурак, пролежал в коме 18 дней, но своего не добился. Провокация не удалась!

A post shared by Алексей Навальный (@navalny) on Sep 22, 2020 at 12:04pm PDT

The scars match those seen on Yulia Skripal, another Novichok victim, upon her release from the hospital in May 2018. She and her father, the former Russian spy Sergei Skripal, were exposed to Novichok in Salisbury, England, in March 2018.

At the time experts attributed Skripal's scars to a tracheotomy, which is a surgical procedure to open a hole in a person's windpipe to help them breathe.

Business Insider has contacted the Berlin Charité hospital and Navalny's FBK foundation for comment on his treatment.

FILE - In this file photo taken on Thursday, Dec. 26, 2019, Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny speaks to the media as policemen stand guard at the Foundation for Fighting Corruption office in Moscow, Russia. Instead of openly declaring plans to extend his rule, like President Vladimir Putin did in 2011, he proposed constitutional amendments to appear to give more power to Russia's parliament. But opposition leaders like Alexei Navalny said the changes are not the kind that people are looking for. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, File)
Navalny in Moscow in December 2019, before the poisoning.

In the caption to the Instagram post, Navalny said once again that the Russian government was behind the attack.

"Vladimir Putin told his French counterpart: 'Navalny could have swallowed the poison himself,'" Navalny wrote, referencing a report in Le Monde which said that Putin told Emmanuel Macron that Navalny could be responsible for poisoning himself.

"Good version. I believe that it deserves the most careful study. Cooked 'Novichok' in the kitchen. Took a small sip from my flask on the plane. Fell into a coma," he wrote, apparently sarcastically.

Kira Yarmysh, Navalny's press secretary, said last week that Navalny plans to return to Russia to continue his advocacy.

Navalny fell ill during a flight from Tomsk, Siberia, where he was campaigning, to Moscow on August 20. The plane made an emergency landing in Omsk, Siberia, and he was taken to a nearby hospital.

But doctors at the hospital refused to let his wife and personal doctor see him for some time, and also refused to let him leave Russia for specialist treatment.

A Berlin-based charity organized Navalny's evacuation, and he was eventually permitted to leave Russia on August 21.

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Navalny and his family pose for a picture at Charité hospital in Berlin, Germany, in this undated image posted on social media on September 15, 2020.

Yarmysh said Navalny's team initially believed his tea was poisoned. However, on September 17, Navalny and his team said that Novichok was found on several water bottles in his hotel room in Tomsk.

Navalny's team, who had remained in Tomsk after Navalny left for the airport, collected the bottles and other potential sources of the poison for analysis after hearing he had fallen ill.

Three NATO intelligence sources told Insider that they believe Putin will attempt to kill Navalny again.

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