Putin rival’s doctor ‘reappears’ after ‘going missing in woods for three days’
A doctor who treated Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny after he was poisoned last year has reemerged after vanishing for three days, it has been reported.
Alexander Murakhovsky vanished after driving away from a group while on hunting trip at a bear-infested forest in Ormsk, Siberia – about 2,200km (1,370 miles) east of Moscow – on Friday.
Concerns about the physician's whereabouts grew after he failed to return and a search was launched.
Police called in drones, helicopters and volunteers in a desperate bid to find him.
He mysteriously reappeared alone in Basly – a nearby village – in a "normal condition" three days later, according to news agency RIA.
Murakhovsky was then reportedly examined at a hospital. The details of his disappearance remain unclear.
He was chief doctor at the Ormsk hospital where Alexei Navalny – a leading critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin – was initially treated after he collapsed on a flight from Siberia to Moscow in August 2020.
The plane was forced to make an emergency landing in Ormsk so Navalny could receive medical attention.
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Murakhovsky was named as regional health minister soon after.
Navalny was flown to the German capital Berlin for further treatment following negotiations between the countries. He recovered five months later.
It was later revealed Navalny was poisoned with novichok – the same nerve agent notoriously used in the attack on Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Wiltshire city Salisbury in March 2018.
Despite mounting speculation, Moscow authorities have denied trying to murder him.
He was arrested soon after returning to Russia in January.
Two days later, Navalny and Russian organisation The Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK) accused Putin of fraud.
They claimed the Russian president had built himself a huge estate near Krasnodar in the country's south in what they described as "the world's biggest bribe".
Navalny was jailed in February for allegedly violating a suspended sentence for embezzlement – a charge he vigorously denies.
He had been on hunger strike for more than three weeks but announced he would end the protest last month after medics said they feared for his life.
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