Putin: Agents would’ve ‘finished’ killing Alexei Navalny if they wanted
Russian official laughs off news of Putin foe poisoning attempts
Russia tried to kill Alexei Navalny with a poisoned Negroni, probe finds
Kremlin critic reportedly survived second poisoning while in coma
He was debriefed.
Poisoned Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny duped a Russian spy into confessing to the botched assassination attempt — revealing that nerve agent had been smeared on his underpants, according to a report.
The 44-year-old opposition leader posed as a senior official from Russia’s National Security Council demanding an urgent debriefing about why the poisoning in August failed, according to a recording shared with CNN.
In a sting where he used a number disguised to look like it was from the headquarters of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSS), Navalny tricked Konstantin Kudryavtsev into revealing key details about how he had been poisoned with Novichok in August, CNN said.
“Underpants … The insides, the crotch,” Kudryavtsev reportedly said during a 45-minute call with Navalny, who is still recovering in Germany. That way, the nerve agent would enter through the skin, rather than being consumed through a drink, as first assumed.
Kudryavtsev reportedly told the Kremlin’s harshest critic that he had been tasked with tailing him, repeatedly changing clothes and making sure he was never spotted.
He also praised the work of fellow Alexandrov Alexandrov, whose cellphone was recorded being close to Navalny’s hotel room the night poison was left, according to an investigation by CNN and Bellingcat.
Kudryavtsev — who is a specialist in chemical and biological weapons — insisted during the call that under-dosing was not to blame for the opposition leader surviving the attempted hit, CNN said.
“As I understand it, we added [a] bit extra,” he reportedly said of the Soviet-era nerve agent.
Instead, they were caught out when the plane Navalny was on from Siberia decided to make an emergency landing in Omsk rather than continue with the three-hour flight as expected.
“If you don’t land the plane the effect would’ve been different and the result would’ve been different,” Kudryavtsev reportedly admitted.
“[We] didn’t expect all this would happen. I’m sure that everything went wrong,” Kudryavtsev added, according to CNN.
The Bellingcat-CNN investigation — aided by German magazine Der Spiegel and Russia’s The Insider — established through flight manifests that Kudryavtsev flew to Omsk on Aug. 25, five days after the poisoning.
Once there, they applied solutions to Navalny’s clothes to make sure there were no traces of the poison, he allegedly confessed in the sting.
“That’s why we went there several times,” Kudryavtsev replied.
“I was told to work precisely with the underpants, on the inside,” he said, allegedly confirming his orders came from Stanislav Makshakov, head of the toxin team at the FSB’s Criminalistics Unit on the outskirts of Moscow.
Navalny told CNN that he was “amazed” and “couldn’t believe” he managed to successfully trick Kudryavtsevinto a confession, but said he does not believe it will change anything in his homeland.
“It has become so obvious that it was Putin personally who was behind this,” he told the network.
Neither Kudryavtsev nor the Kremlin responded to requests for comment, CNN said.
However, Putin and other Russian officials have previously dismissed the Bellingcat-CNN investigation as being orchestrated by Western intelligence agencies.
Putin has also denied being behind the attack, suggesting that Navalny may have poisoned himself — and insisting last week that his agents would’ve “finished” the job if they had really wanted him dead.
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