A leader of the Russian opposition who has been a vocal critic of what he calls a Kremlin policy of assassinating political enemies has fallen into a life-threatening coma caused by an unknown poison, his wife said on Monday.
The diagnosis of what ailed Vladimir Kara-Murza came at a delicate political moment for the United States and Russia, as President Trump had just brushed aside criticism of Russian President Vladimir V. Putin as a “killer.”
“There are a lot of killers,” Mr. Trump had said in the interview on Fox News on Sunday. “You think our country’s so innocent?” The Kremlin then demanded that Fox News apologize for the host Bill O’Reilly’s characterization of Mr. Putin.
In Moscow, Mr. Kara-Murza, 35, has been in a coma and at the center of a politically hued medical mystery since Thursday as doctors puzzled over his symptoms while keeping him alive on artificial respiration.
Mr. Kara-Murza suffered similar symptoms in 2015 and later said he had been poisoned. Then, a French laboratory found elevated levels of heavy metals in his blood but was unable to pinpoint any specific poison.
Doctors determined the cause this time as “acute intoxication by an unidentified substance,” Mr. Kara-Murza’s wife, Yevgeniya Kara-Murza, said in an interview. His condition was stable but critical, she added.
“The onset was just as sudden as last time,” Ms. Kara-Murza said. “He is all surrounded by machines and covered in tubes.” Other than poisoning, she said, “We don’t see any other explanation.”
Ms. Kara-Murza said samples of her husband’s blood, hair and fingernails had been sent to laboratories in France and Israel in an effort to identify the mystery toxin.
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SOURCE: ANDREW E. KRAMER
The New York Times