'Putin did not order Alexei Navalny's death,' US intelligence agencies claim after Kremlin critic dies in Russian jail

27 April 2024, 11:25

Alexei Navalny died in February
Alexei Navalny died in February. Picture: Alamy

By Kit Heren

US intelligence agencies do not believe that Vladimir Putin ordered the killing of Alexei Navalny.

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Mr Navalny, a fierce critic of the Kremlin, died in a remote Russian prison in February aged 47.

His wife and other anti-Putin activists believe that the Russian president was behind his death.

But US intelligence agencies have said that a range of factors - including the timing of Mr Navalny's death, not long before Russian elections - make it unlikely Putin ordered him to be killed.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the findings had been "broadly accepted within the intelligence community and shared by several agencies, including the Central Intelligence Agency, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the State Department's intelligence unit".

Read more: 'These things happen’: Alexei Navalny ‘simply died’ and murder allegations ‘make no sense’, Russian ambassador says

Read more: 'Russia without Putin': Defiant chant sung by crowd of thousands as Alexei Navalny's funeral held in Moscow

Watch again: Nick Ferrari interviews the Russian Ambassador

But Leonid Volkov, a former Navalny aide, branded the report ridiculous and naive.

Navalny died when he was serving 19 years on extremism charges in one of Russia's toughest penal colonies, nicknamed 'Polar Wolf'.

The colony is located in the Yamalo-Nenets region in the Arctic Circle where temperatures reach -20C.

His death led to hundreds of Russians across the country flocking to impromptu memorials with flowers and candles.

Authorities at the time rushed to detain any people or events demonstrating sympathy for Putin's fiercest and most well-known opponent.

Alexei Navalny
Alexei Navalny. Picture: Alamy

The Russian ambassador to the UK told LBC's Nick Ferrari earlier this month that Mr Navalny died from a "sudden failure in his health".

Andrei Kelin said: "President Putin had said he was prepared to exchange him [Navalny] for some others and it is absolutely wrong to think that he, or something difficult happened.

"He simply died. These things happen."

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