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Berlin police investigate reports of ‘mysterious symptoms’ in Russian opposition groups

A US-based Russian woman reports a strange smell in her hotel room and then falls ill within hours, but says doctors found nothing wrong with her.

German police are investigating reports that at least two Russian exiles fell ill around the time they attended a conference in Berlin in April linked to a Russian opposition figure.

Berlin police confirmed their investigation in an email responding to a query from The Associated Press, but gave no details. The investigation is being carried out by a police unit that deals with politically motivated crimes.

Russian media Agentstvo reported that two attendees at a conference hosted by Russian opposition figure Mikhail Khodorkovsky on April 29-30 suffered health problems at or after the event.

Natalia Arno, head of the US-based Free Russia Foundation, said in a May 16 Facebook post that she woke up with severe pain and strange symptoms during a trip to two European cities before returning in the USA. It is suspected that she was poisoned, possibly by a nerve agent, Arno said in the post.

Arno said she felt “strange symptoms” which she initially attributed to jet lag, lack of sleep and general fatigue.

However, in the second city of her trip, she claims to have found her hotel door open and inside “immediately smelled a foreign and strong smell of cheap perfumes in the room”.

Arno said she woke up early the next morning “in sharp pain and strange symptoms” and on the flight back to the United States she felt numb and ended up in the emergency room. a hospital when she landed, but doctors didn’t immediately find anything wrong with her.

In a second instance, Agentstvo reported that a reporter it did not identify may have developed symptoms before the meeting Khodorkovsky hosted.

German newspaper Welt am Sonntag first reported on the investigation by German police.

euronews Gt

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