Russia’s Pussy Riot says activist hospitalised, ‘poisoned’

An activist from the Russian protest punk rock group Pussy Riot who staged a pitch invasion during the 2018 football World Cup final in Moscow has been hospitalised with suspected poisoning, members of the punk collective said on Thursday.

Pyotr Verzilov was admitted to hospital following a court hearing on Tuesday, his girlfriend Veronika Nikulshina, also a Pussy Riot member, told local media.

“His eyesight was going … First we dismissed it as fatigue but then it got worse and he lost the power of speech,” Nikulshina told Ekho Moskvy radio. “He didn’t recognise me anymore, he didn’t react to requests.

She added, pending the results of medical tests: “I am not ruling out the possibility that it could be connected to outside interference.”

Nikulshina said the activist had never suffered from such problems before. In another interview she said he told doctors he had not taken drugs.

Verzilov is also a publisher at the independent news site Mediazona, which focuses on the Russian prison system.

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