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Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny is seen during a march in Moscow, in a Feb. 29, 2020, file photo.Pavel Golovkin/The Associated Press

After a day of delay, Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny was expected to arrive at a specialist hospital in Berlin on Saturday, where he will be treated after a suspected poisoning left him in a coma.

How and where Mr. Navalny would receive medical care was the subject of furious negotiations throughout Friday, with different Russian officials giving different diagnoses – and going back and forth over whether the 44-year-old could be moved – while Mr. Navalny remained on a ventilator, and a plane sent by a German charity sat waiting on the ground in Omsk.

Kira Yarmysh, Mr. Navalny’s spokeswoman, posted a photo of an ambulance arriving at the airport in Omsk shortly after dawn local time on Saturday. His condition was unclear.

“It is a pity that it took the doctors so long to make this decision,” Ms. Yarmysh said. “The plane has been waiting since the morning, the documents were also ready at the same time.”

Mr. Navalny, the most prominent domestic critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin and his entourage, collapsed Thursday aboard a flight bound for Moscow after drinking tea that his allies believe contained some kind of poison. The flight was forced to make an emergency landing in the Siberian city of Omsk, where an already-unconscious Mr. Navalny was rushed to hospital.

In the following 24 hours, doctors in Omsk gave a series of contradictory statements about Mr. Navalny’s condition. Friday morning, Ivan Zhdanov, the director of Mr. Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation, said doctors had told Mr. Navalny’s wife and friends that they had discovered a substance in Mr. Navalny’s system so dangerous that anyone coming near him had to wear protective clothing.

The statement was later denied by the official Tass news wire, citing “a source in the law enforcement.” Tass, which always gives the official Kremlin narrative, reported that Mr. Navalny’s sudden illness was likely caused by a “metabolic disorder” and a drop in blood sugar levels.

Earlier, Alexander Murakhovsky, the hospital’s chief physician, said there were five working theories regarding Mr. Navalny’s condition. “Unfortunately, I can’t name them at this time.”

Ms. Yarmysh posted a photograph on social media that showed men in suits – who appeared to be security officials, rather than medical professionals – were working out of Dr. Murakhovsky’s office in the hospital.

Mr. Navalny’s allies said the Kremlin appeared to be trying to keep the lawyer-turned-politician in Omsk until whatever toxins were in his system could no longer be traced. German doctors who were allowed to briefly examine Mr. Navalny told Ms. Yarmysh that his condition was stable enough for him to be flown to Berlin.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters in Moscow that the government was not involved in the decisions regarding Mr. Navalny’s treatment, but added that “transportation can pose a threat to the patient’s life.”

The decision to allow Mr. Navalny to be taken to Germany was made after his wife, Yulia Navalnaya, wrote a letter to Mr. Putin in which she personally asked him to permit her husband’s evacuation. Mr. Navalny’s team also made a formal appeal for intervention by the European Court of Human Rights, of which Russia is a member.

Mr. Navalny’s apparent poisoning follows a long line of similar incidents involving critics of Mr. Putin. Other victims include the late journalist Anna Politkovskaya, opposition politician Vladimir Kara-Murza, Russian-Canadian activist Pyotr Verzilov and former Ukrainian president Viktor Yushchenko.

Mr. Navalny, who gained fame by investigating and blogging about corruption among Russia’s business and political elite, is considered the biggest threat to Mr. Putin’s hold on power. He has repeatedly shown the ability to mobilize tens of thousands of people into the streets, at rallies where “Russia without Putin!” is a common chant.

Mr. Putin has made little secret of his animosity toward the opposition leader. He goes to great lengths to avoid mentioning Mr. Navalny by name, even when asked directly about him. “He doesn’t do it. Yes, we’ve also noticed this,” his spokesman, Mr. Peskov, said in 2017 when asked about Mr. Putin’s reticence to speak Mr. Navalny’s name. “Apparently this is due to [Mr. Putin’s] attitude about this person.”

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