BERLIN (Sputnik) – The mission to transport Russian opposition figure Alexey Navalny to Berlin was expensive, but the costs were covered by private individuals, Jaka Bizilj, the founder of the Berlin-based Cinema for Peace Foundation, said on Saturday.
The 44-year-old blogger fell ill on a flight to Moscow and was taken to a hospital in the Siberian city of Omsk, where he went into a coma on Thursday. His family and friends asked for him to be transported to a Berlin clinic. He was airlifted to Germany and admitted to the Charite hospital earlier on Saturday.
“German taxpayers do not pay at all, it was all covered with private funds, no foundations or public funds were involved,” Bizilj told reporters, adding that the German government was not involved as well.
According to the founder, the approval from the Russian authorities for the transportation was received at 22:00 Omsk time on Friday (16:00 GMT).
“It was very expensive to do it [organize the transportation] so quickly,” Bizilj said, adding that private individuals eventually covered all the costs.
The founder refused to make the names of these people public.
“I have not personally met with him [Navalny]. Of course, I know who he is, but there is no personal relationship with him. We at Cinema for Peace have nothing to do with Russian politics, it was a humanitarian mission,” Bizilj added.
Navalny’s associates believe that the politician was poisoned, most likely after drinking a cup of tea at the airport in Tomsk. However, Omsk doctors considered a metabolic dysfunction and a plunge in sugar level to be the main diagnosis.
The founder of Cinema for Peace told Bild newspaper that Navalny’s condition was stable upon arrival in Berlin earlier on Saturday.
Navalny’s family is expected to make a statement in the coming days after receiving additional information about the health of the Russian opposition figure.