'He confessed': Russian leader's 'proof' he was poisoned

Australian Associated Press
·2-min read

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has released a recording of a phone call he said he made to an alleged state security operative who revealed details of how the politician was supposedly poisoned.

Navalny fell ill on August 20 during a domestic flight in Russia and was flown to Berlin while still in a coma for treatment two days later.

Labs in Germany, France and Sweden, and tests by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, established that he was exposed to a Soviet-era Novichok nerve agent.

Alexei Navalny and his wife Yulia, posing for a photo in a hospital in Berlin, Germany. Source: Instagram
Alexei Navalny and his wife Yulia as he recovers in Germany. Source: Instagram

Russian authorities have vehemently denied any involvement in the poisoning.

Last week, the investigative group Bellingcat released a report alleging that operatives from Russia's FSB domestic security agency with "specialised training in chemical weapons, chemistry and medicine" were "in the vicinity" of Navalny in the time frame "during which he was poisoned".

The investigation, conducted by Bellingcat and Russian news outlet The Insider in co-operation with CNN and German news outlet Der Spiegel, identified the supposed FSB operatives after analysing telephone metadata and flight information.

Navalny, who is recovering in Germany, said the report proved beyond doubt that FSB operatives tried to kill him on the orders of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

A woman holding a placard with an image of Alexei Navalny expresses support for the opposition leader after he was rushed to intensive care. Source: Getty
A woman supports Alexei Navalny after he was rushed to intensive care. Source: Getty

Navalny posts YouTube video with alleged ‘killer’

On Monday, he posted a video on his YouTube channel titled "I called my killer. He confessed".

The video showed him speaking on the phone with one of the alleged operatives. The operative is duped into revealing Navalny was apparently poisoned with a nerve agent planted in his underpants.

Bellingcat and other media outlets identified the man Navalny said he spoke to as Konstantin Kudryavtsev, a trained chemical weapons specialist.

The Associated Press was not able to independently verify the identity of the man with whom Navalny spoke in the video.

Alexei Navalny, his wife Yulia, opposition politician Lyubov Sobol and other demonstrators take part in a march in memory of murdered Kremlin critic Boris Nemtsov in downtown Moscow on February 29, 2020. Source: Getty
Alexei Navalny was allegedly poisoned in August. Source: Getty

Russian authorities have not yet commented on the recording, which received more than 1.4 million views on YouTube within hours of being posted.

Earlier this month, Russian officials brushed off the investigation by Bellingcat and other media outlets.

Mr Putin claimed last week that the investigation relied on data provided by US spy agencies.

Its authors have denied any link to US or any other Western intelligence services.

"It's not some kind of investigation, it's just the legalisation of materials provided by US special services," the Russian leader said during his annual press conference.

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