Pussy Riot member Pyotr Verzilov was probably poisoned, German medics say

German doctors say there is a "high plausibility" that a member of the Russian protest group Pussy Riot, who...

Posted: Sep 19, 2018 4:56 AM
Updated: Sep 19, 2018 4:56 AM

German doctors say there is a "high plausibility" that a member of the Russian protest group Pussy Riot, who was taken ill in Russia last week, was poisoned.

Speaking at a press conference Tuesday, Dr. Kai-Uwe Eckardt of the Berlin Charite Hospital said that an external substance appears to have affected Pyotr Verzilov's nervous system.

Arts and entertainment

Business and industry sectors

Business, economy and trade

Diseases and disorders

Health and medical

Health care

Health care facilities

Hospitals

Misc people

Music

Music and dance

Music groups and artists

Musical groups

Poisonings

Pussy Riot

Pyotr Verzilov

2018 Russian spy poisoning

Continents and regions

Eastern Europe

England

Espionage

Europe

Germany

Government and public administration

Government bodies and offices

Government departments and authorities

Intelligence services

International relations and national security

National security

Northern Europe

Protests and demonstrations

Russia

United Kingdom

Western Europe

Doctors have been unable to determine the nature of the substance or the source, he said, adding that while the activist remains in intensive care, his life is no longer in danger.

"The information we currently have... shows a high plausibility that poisoning has taken place here," Eckardt said. "To turn it around, so far we have no indication that there might be another explanation for his state."

The announcement adds weight to claims made by other Pussy Riot members on Thursday that Verzilov was poisoned in Russia. The Russian punk band -- known for obscuring their identities with colorful balaclava-style masks -- is an outspoken critic of the Putin government.

Speaking at a press conference Tuesday, Pussy Riot founding member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova said that Verzilov was probably the victim of an "assassination attempt," alleging that multiple law enforcement agencies in Russia have been "trying to find a way to get to Pyotr."

"Nobody who has taken part in political activity in Russia can really be safe," she said.

When contacted by CNN last week, Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova had no comment on Verzilov's illness.

Doctors confident of 'complete cure'

Speaking to CNN Tuesday, Verzilov's girlfriend and fellow Pussy Riot activist Veronika Nikulshina said he fell ill last Tuesday. Verzilov first lost some sight and became unable to walk straight, Nikulshina said, adding that his condition worsened as the hours passed.

Following treatment in Moscow, Verzilov flew into Berlin on Saturday, according to Germany's Cinema for Peace Foundation, a non-profit humanitarian group that has previously advocated for Pussy Riot and which organized the flight.

He was admitted to the Charite Hospital with symptoms of intoxication and in a state of confusion, the hospital said in a statement Tuesday.

The hospital's Chief Executive Office, Dr. Karl Max Einhäupl, said in the statement that Verzilov's condition had since improved significantly and that doctors are "confident that a complete cure will come."

He added that doctors in Moscow had provided good initial treatment and had cooperated well with the hospital in Berlin.

Doctors believe that Verzilov was poisoned almost a week ago. They are working with toxicologists in an effort to identify the substance used, the statement said.

Verzilov is a joint Russia-Canada citizen, and on Thursday Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that the situation was of concern, "particularly given actions of recent months by the Russians in the UK."

Trudeau appeared to be referring to the alleged Russian poisoning of former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in the southern English city of Salisbury in March. CNN asked the Russian foreign ministry for comment on Trudeau's comments but has yet to receive a reply.

It was later determined that they had been poisoned with a powerful nerve agent called Novichok, which British investigators tied to the Russian government. Russia has denied the claims.

NGO: 'Poisoning was revenge for World Cup protest'

Verzilov was one of four protesters dressed as police officers who rushed the field during the 2018 World Cup final in Moscow in July.

In a statement, Pussy Riot claimed responsibility for the demonstration and called for political prisoners to be freed, for the arrests of opposition protesters to cease, and for the jailing of citizens over their social media activity to end.

"The attack (last week) is regarded as revenge for appearing in the World Cup final to support human rights in Russia," said the Cinema for Peace Foundation in a statement Sunday.

Nearly six years ago, three of Pussy Riot's members -- Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina and Yekaterina Samutsevich -- were charged with hooliganism and sentenced to two years in prison for performing an anti-Putin protest song called "Punk Prayer" at Christ the Savior Cathedral in Moscow.

One of them, Samutsevich, had her sentence suspended on appeal, but the others served their sentences until being released in December 2013.

They have continued to be critical of Putin and his government in subsequent years. On their release, they founded an independent media outlet that advocates for political prisoners, including through "immersive" theater projects.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 556381

Reported Deaths: 7098
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1158471682
Ramsey47939856
Dakota42586422
Anoka38655415
Washington24993274
Stearns21052219
St. Louis16821298
Scott16013117
Wright14818127
Olmsted1276297
Sherburne1064880
Carver984945
Clay783490
Rice7649101
Blue Earth698640
Kandiyohi628181
Crow Wing618186
Chisago550650
Otter Tail543973
Benton532297
Mower451132
Goodhue444172
Douglas442870
Winona438649
Nobles400648
Morrison396059
McLeod395255
Isanti378259
Itasca373653
Beltrami372957
Polk366067
Steele364014
Becker356048
Lyon348648
Carlton329452
Freeborn328129
Pine312321
Nicollet307542
Brown294739
Mille Lacs282150
Le Sueur270822
Todd268830
Cass250426
Meeker237437
Waseca231421
Martin213429
Wabasha19953
Roseau197818
Renville172543
Hubbard172341
Dodge17193
Redwood166335
Houston162614
Cottonwood157021
Fillmore15179
Pennington151019
Chippewa146537
Wadena144621
Faribault144019
Sibley136410
Kanabec131721
Aitkin128736
Watonwan12569
Rock123019
Jackson117410
Yellow Medicine110819
Pipestone109926
Pope10306
Murray10269
Swift100018
Marshall85617
Stevens82210
Lake78419
Clearwater77814
Koochiching77313
Wilkin77012
Lac qui Parle73622
Big Stone5644
Lincoln5592
Grant5498
Norman5229
Mahnomen5088
Unassigned50378
Kittson46822
Red Lake3877
Traverse3605
Lake of the Woods3073
Cook1460

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 358085

Reported Deaths: 5821
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk56023604
Linn20310330
Scott19111234
Black Hawk15560306
Woodbury14906221
Johnson1405881
Dubuque13162202
Dallas1090196
Pottawattamie10763162
Story1031547
Warren555686
Clinton537790
Cerro Gordo522986
Webster508391
Sioux506673
Marshall477274
Muscatine460796
Des Moines441965
Wapello4254120
Buena Vista421940
Jasper407670
Plymouth397479
Lee368555
Marion354575
Jones293155
Henry286337
Bremer279360
Carroll279351
Crawford261840
Boone258833
Benton250355
Washington249550
Dickinson242343
Mahaska224850
Jackson218242
Kossuth213063
Clay211225
Tama206671
Delaware203039
Winneshiek194433
Page190421
Buchanan188831
Cedar184423
Fayette183041
Wright180435
Hardin179942
Hamilton178149
Harrison176473
Clayton167155
Butler162534
Mills158720
Cherokee157138
Floyd155442
Lyon154841
Madison154119
Poweshiek152733
Allamakee149151
Iowa145524
Hancock143734
Winnebago136131
Grundy135332
Cass134654
Calhoun133211
Jefferson131035
Emmet128740
Shelby128637
Sac127319
Louisa127249
Appanoose126647
Mitchell125341
Union124132
Chickasaw122615
Humboldt118326
Guthrie117929
Franklin112821
Palo Alto111022
Howard102822
Montgomery100637
Unassigned10050
Clarke98323
Keokuk94730
Monroe94128
Ida89733
Adair84532
Pocahontas83721
Monona81230
Davis79924
Greene76710
Osceola75516
Lucas74923
Worth7098
Taylor65312
Fremont6139
Decatur5899
Van Buren55518
Ringgold53623
Wayne52123
Audubon4939
Adams3284
Rochester/St. Mary'S
Cloudy
35° wxIcon
Hi: 40° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 26°
Mason City
Cloudy
37° wxIcon
Hi: 41° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 27°
Albert Lea
Cloudy
37° wxIcon
Hi: 40° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 29°
Austin
Cloudy
37° wxIcon
Hi: 40° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 27°
Charles City
Cloudy
37° wxIcon
Hi: 42° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 28°
Cooler for the next couple of days
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Latest Video

Image

Sean's Weather 4/19

Image

Mayo Clinic Doctor creates art for patients

Image

Electric car show

Image

Walk a Block

Image

Cleaning up Chester Woods

Image

Little Thistle collecting donations

Image

Rochester United PKG

Image

Grizzlies PKG

Image

Sara's Saturday Night Forecast

Image

April Tool's Day

Community Events