Tests conducted on Russian dissident Alexei Navalny at a German hospital indicate he was poisoned, but doctors say they do not believe his life to be at immediate risk.

The Charite hospital said the team of doctors who have been examining Mr Navalny since he was flown from Siberia and admitted on Saturday have found the presence of “cholinesterase inhibitors” in his system.

Cholinesterase inhibitors are a broad range of substances that are found in several drugs, but also pesticides and nerve agents. However, doctors at Charite said at the moment the specific substance to which Mr Navalny was exposed is not yet known.

The patient is in an intensive care unit and is still in an induced coma. His health is serious but there is currently no acute danger to his life,” the hospital said in a statement. Mr Navalny remained in critical but stable condition at the Berlin hospital, with special protection details on hand to ensure his safety, German officials said.

Berlin police and federal agents were posted at the hospital where the 44-year-old is undergoing treatment following his arrival in Germany after Chancellor Angela Merkel personally offered the country’s assistance.

“It was obvious that after his arrival, protective precautions had to be taken,” Mrs Merkel’s spokesman, Steffen Seibert, told reporters. “After all, this is a patient who, with a certain degree of probability, was poisoned.”

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