Canada’s support to the allegedly poisoned Russian-Canadian Pussy Riot activist

Canada’s support to the allegedly poisoned Russian-Canadian Pussy Riot activist
(Evgeniy Isaev/Wikipedia)

Canadian officials are following Pyotr Verzilov’s treatment with very close interest

On September 18, 2018, German doctors from Berlin’s Charité Hospital informed public in general and the Canadian Embassy in Germany in particular about the state of health of Pyotr Verzilov, the political activist with Russia-Canada dual citizenship, who had been allegedly poisoned in Russia several days ago.

Pyotr Verzilov, Pussy Riot member and Mediazona publisher, was hospitalized in Moscow’s Municipal Hospital N 5 on September 11, 2018, after having lost his sight, speech and physical mobility. On September 13, in grave condition, he was transferred to Sklifosovsky Institute on suspicion of having been poisoned. On the same day, Interfax.ru reported that the political activist, supposedly, had “prior to stroke” syndrome, which was immediately refuted by his partner and another Pussy Riot activist Veronika Nikulshina with a reference to the medical checks that Pyotr Verzilov had undergone by that time. On September 15, by a special private medical transport plane, Pyotr Verzilov was transported to Berlin. According to the Associated Press, Dr. Kai-Uwe Eckardt, Director of the Medical Department of the Charité Hospital admitted that Verzilov’s symptoms indicated “an anticholinergic syndrome that can result from the disruption of the nervous system that regulates the inner organs,” which was stated as well in the medical report they obtained from the Russian side. This condition was “highly plausible” caused by “a case of poisoning.” At the same time, medics stressed that they didn’t possess any information on how it had happened and who might have been involved. Neither could they identify the substance. Meanwhile, Verzilov’s illness, at the moment, is no longer considered life-threatening and he is expected to fully recover.

“Russian doctors suspected possible poisoning and treated him accordingly, emptying his stomach and performing a dialysis.”

On September 13, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau publicly commented on the alleged poisoning of Pyotr Verzilov, claiming that this situation was “of concern” in connection with the recent Salisbury events. He assured that the Canadian diplomatic mission in Moscow had reached out to the medical facility to support their Canadian citizen. At the same time, Justin Trudeau admitted that it was “too early to draw any conclusions.”

On September 18, Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland said to reporters that she was “personally very closely engaged” in Verzilov’s situation and had a chance to talk to his mother. The Canadian Embassy in Germany is working with his family and their German colleagues to provide support to this Canadian citizen. Earlier this day, Euronews assumed that Verzilov’s treatment in Berlin’s Charité was covered by his Canadian health care insurance. However, his private flight to Berlin was sponsored by the Cinema for Peace Foundation. The same NGO organized a press-conference with the assistance of Verzilov’s mother, partner and ex-wife, where his mother expressed her gratitude not only to German doctors but also to Russian medics for treating her son according to his presumptive diagnosis.

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