BERLIN/MOSCOW (Dispatches) -- Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny made his first public appearance on Wednesday after being discharged from a Berlin hospital where Germany said he was being treated for alleged poisoning by a potentially deadly nerve agent.
Navalny was flown from Russia to Berlin last month after falling ill on a domestic flight in Siberia. The West has demanded an explanation from the Kremlin, which has denied any involvement in the incident and said it has yet to see evidence of a crime.
A casually-dressed and tired-looking Navalny posted a picture of himself on a park bench on Instagram on Wednesday after the hospital treating him announced he had been discharged.
The 44-year-old opposition politician said he planned to have physiotherapy and might follow treatment at a rehabilitation centre to regain his motor skills, including the full use of his left hand.
"After 32 days in the hospital, doctors decided that further recovery does not require in-patient care, but a normal life. Walking, spending time with my family. Immersing myself in a daily routine,” he wrote.
"My plans are so far simple: (go to) the physiotherapist every day. Possibly a rehabilitation center. Stand on one leg. Regaining complete control over my fingers. Maintain my balance.”
He thanked doctors at Berlin’s Charite hospital for the treatment he had received.
His allies have said he plans to return to Russia one day, but Navalny made no reference to such plans on Wednesday.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Russian authorities were pleased Navalny was recovering and that he was welcome back in Russia, just like any other citizen.
Peskov reacted angrily, however, to an article on Tuesday in French newspaper Le Monde which cited unnamed sources as saying Russian President Vladimir Putin had told Emmanuel Macron in a Sept. 14 phone call that Navalny may have poisoned himself.
Le Monde, which said Macron had rejected Putin’s hypotheses, reported that the Russian leader had told Macron that Navalny was a troublesome blogger who had tried to blackmail government officials with corruption allegations and that it was worth exploring whether Latvia had any involvement in the case.
Peskov said there were many inaccuracies in the French report and said the newspaper was not in a position to know the details of what Putin and Macron had discussed.