Russian President Vladimir Putin says he personally authorised dissident Alexei Navalny's medical evacuation to Germany.
Putin explained that if the Russian government had wanted Navalny to be poisoned, Navalny would not have been sent to Germany for treatment, according to comments carried by state news agency TASS.
Navalny, who has been one of Putin's fiercest domestic critics over the past decade, fell violently ill on a commercial flight from the Siberian city of Tomsk on August 20 with poisoning symptoms.
The airliner made an emergency landing in the Siberian city of Omsk, where Navalny was hospitalised for two days before Russian officials permitted him to be evacuated to Berlin on a German-operated flight for treatment at the renowned Charite hospital.
Navalny spent more than a month in treatment at that facility.
Laboratories in Germany, France and Sweden have determined that he was poisoned with the Soviet-developed nerve agent Novichok.
Russian officials have said they have found no hard evidence that Navalny was poisoned with such a substance.
Australian Associated Press