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Member of the Pussy Riot punk group Pyotr Verzilov gestures as he walks with police at a courthouse in Moscow on July 31, 2018, as he was accused of disturbing public order after invading the pitch during the World Cup final in Moscow.VASILY MAXIMOV/AFP/Getty Images

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said reports that a Russian-Canadian dual national may have been poisoned are particularly concerning in light of recent allegations that Russian agents were behind an attack in Britain earlier this year.

“Obviously, this is a situation of concern and I can confirm that Canadian consular officials have reached out to the medical facility in which he is held,” Mr. Trudeau told reporters in Saskatoon at a Liberal caucus retreat.

Pyotr Verzilov – a prominent anti-Kremlin activist and member of the protest band Pussy Riot – was taken to hospital earlier this week and members of the group said they believe he was poisoned.

“I can’t go into too many details for family and personal privacy reasons, but we are certainly very engaged with this situation," Mr. Trudeau said. "It is of concern, obviously, particularly given actions of recent months by the Russians in the U.K., so we are certainly taking this very seriously and working with the individual, but it is too early to draw any conclusions about what has happened or how it has happened. We just know that there’s a Canadian who is in the hospital that we need to make sure we’re getting support to.”​

Doctors said on Thursday Mr. Verzilov may have been poisoned by an overdose of medication.

Independent news website Meduza reported on Thursday that Mr. Verzilov’s doctors told his relatives he overdosed on medicine or was given too much medicine. The report did not specify the substance. Fellow Pussy Riot member Veronika Nikulshina told the Associated Press the report was accurate, but would not comment further.

Mr. Verzilov and other activists served 15-day jail sentences for disrupting July’s World Cup soccer final to protest against excessive Russian police powers. He told AP last week: “Public protest in Russia is the only way to actually change anything.”

London-based financier Bill Browder, who has been the driving force behind the Magnitsky Act sanctions against Russia, said Mr. Verzilov’s Canadian citizenship would make the possible poisoning case an “international incident.”

“Given the gravity of his situation, the Canadian government should immediately get involved in assisting and in determining what happened to him and how he can be saved,” he said.

He added that he does not believe the Russian government will tell the truth about Mr. Verzilov’s condition. He called the remarks about an overdose of medicine “standard Russian disinformation.”

"It’s crucial the Canadian government urgently assists the family with any resources to find out what kind of poison it was and what the best antidote is for that,” Mr. Browder said.

Earlier this month, Canada said it backed Britain’s assessment that Russian officers were behind an attack in March with a nerve agent on a former Russian spy and his daughter in the city of Salisbury, England.

Mr. Verzilov lived in Canada for several years as a teenager, staying with relatives and attending public schools in Toronto’s west end. He attended Toronto’s Humberside Collegiate as a Grade 9 student in the 2001-02 school year and sang tenor in the junior choir, according to the school’s yearbook.

At Moscow State University, he met Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, a fellow member of Pussy Riot with whom he had a daughter. Ms. Tolokonnikova, a familiar face of Russian opposition who has Canadian permanent-resident status, was imprisoned in Russia in 2012 for staging a protest in a cathedral. Her Canadian connections and Mr. Verzilov’s Canadian passport were mentioned during the 2012 trial. “They wanted to show ‘these are foreign spies planted here to cause trouble,'" Mr. Verzilov told The Globe in a 2013 interview.

With a report from Reuters

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