'Hi, this is Navalny. I miss you': Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny posts Instagram picture from hospital bed

Alexei Navalny sitting up in bed in a Berlin hospital. Credit: Instagram/@navalny

Poisoned Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny says he is now able to breath on his own as he posted a photo of himself sitting up in his bed in the German hospital where he is being treated.

In his first public statement since he collapsed on a flight to Moscow in August, Mr Navalny wrote: "Hi, this is Navalny. I miss you. I still can hardly do anything, but yesterday I was able to breathe on my own all day. Generally myself. I did not use any outside help, not even the simplest valve in my throat."

Alexei Navalny is being treated in Germany Credit: AP/Pavel Golovkin, File

Mr Navalny, a politician and corruption investigator who is one of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s fiercest critics, fell ill on a flight back to Moscow from Siberia on August 20 and was taken to hospital in the Siberian city of Omsk after the plane made an emergency landing.

The 44-year-old was later transferred to Berlin, where a German military lab confirmed Mr Navalny was poisoned with the nerve agent Novichok.

Mr Navalny’s allies in Russia have insisted he was deliberately poisoned by the country’s authorities, accusations the Kremlin rejected as “empty noise”.

Last week, German magazine Der Spiegel said Mr Navalny was able to speak again.

They claimed police protection has been stepped up in the expectation that he would be receiving more visitors as his condition improved.

“Der Spiegel and Bellingcat understand that Navalny can speak again and can likely remember details about his collapse,” it wrote

“His statements could be dangerous for people behind the attack.”

Novichok was used to poison former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, in Salisbury in March 2018, sparking a major investigation by British authorities and international condemnation.