Alexei Navalny blames Putin, pledges to return to Russia

Alexei Navalny gave his first interview after the poisoning incident. In the interview, Navalny expressed confidence that Russian President Vladimir Putin was personally behind the attempt on his life.

"I assert that it was Putin who was behind the crime, and I have no other versions," the opposition activist told the German newspaper Der Spiegel.

The full version of the interview has not been published yet, it will be available on October 2. Navalny, the publication noted, spoke for almost two hours, was excited, made jokes and laughed a lot.

"At first glance, it is not clearly visible that this man was in a coma for several days and could die. However, when he tries to pour water from a bottle, he succeeds only with great effort, his hands tremble a lot," journalists write.

Speaking about the effect of the neurotoxin on the body, Navalny said: "You do not feel pain, but you know that you are dying."

Navalny is accompanied by bodyguards around the clock. For example, they chose a bottle of water for him from many bottles in the fridge in Der Spiegel office (the interview took place at Der Spiegel headquarters in Berlin).

Navalny said he was going to return to Russia. "My job now is to be the guy who's not afraid. And I'm not afraid!"

The attempted assassination of Alexei Navalny will be one of the topics of the EU summit that is opening on October 1 in Brussels, DW notes. The participants in this summit are expected to adopt a special statement condemning the assassination attempt with the use of chemical warfare agents and demand that the Russian authorities thoroughly investigate the crime.

Earlier, German Chancellor Angela Merkel demanded Moscow should "transparently and completely" investigate the poisoning of the opposition activist, noting that it was not a bilateral affair between Germany and Russia. "This is a crime that was committed on the territory of Russia, this is a violation of the Convention on the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, and therefore is an international issue," Merkel stressed.