Speaking at an annual year-end press conference, Russian President Vladimir Putin made a shocking statement on the poisoning of opposition leader Alexei Navalny.
Putin denied allegations that Russia’s FSB spy agency was involved in poisoning of Navalny but admitted that it would kill a person if it wanted.
“Who needs to poison him, if they’d wanted to [poison him] then they probably would have finished the job,” Putin said.
The opposition leader Navalny was poisoned by FSB in August and nearly died. Later he was evacuated to a clinic in Berlin for treatment.
Laboratory tests in three European countries, confirmed by the global chemical weapons watchdog, established he was poisoned with a Soviet-style Novichok nerve agent. Kremlin has repeatedly denied any involvement in his poisoning.
Putin accused US intelligence agencies of leaking information in the case, avoided mentioning Navalny’s name in public and only referred to him as ‘the Berlin patient.’ “It means that this Berlin patient has the support of the American intelligence services,” he said.
Bellingcat, the online investigative collective, used mobile phone and travel data to identify and track eight FSB agents who shadowed Navalny up until the attack and who had ties to a chemical weapons agency.
Vladimir Putin also dismissed the findings and said, “You don’t think we know that they’re tracking geolocations? Our intelligence agencies know that. Agents of the FSB and other special agencies know this. And they use their telephones where they think it’s necessary, not hiding their location.”
Putin’s statements have confirmed that FSB was following Navalny. “Yes, he was being followed, it was the FSB, but they didn’t poison him and they didn’t try to kill him,” he said.
Russian President claimed that the issue is a U.S.-backed plot to try to discredit him. according to Putin, It’s a trick to attack the leaders of Russia.
“That’s the Department of State and US security services, they are the real authors. Anyway, this has clearly been done on their orders. This is absolutely obvious,” Putin said.