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Senin, 14 Desember 2020

Russian Putin critic Alexei Navalny says media investigation has identified his would-be killers - ABC News

Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny has declared his poisoning case solved after a joint media investigation said it had identified a team of assassins from Russia's FSB security service as his would-be killers, who had stalked him for years.

There was no immediate comment from the FSB, the main domestic security successor to the Soviet-era KGB.

The Kremlin has repeatedly rejected any suggestion that Russia tried to kill Mr Navalny, one of President Vladimir Putin's leading critics, who collapsed on a domestic Russian flight in August.

Mr Navalny was airlifted for medical treatment to Germany after the incident, where he remains.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel says he was poisoned with a Soviet-style Novichok nerve agent in an attempt to murder him, an assertion many Western nations accept.

Alexei Navalny sits in a hospital bed in a medical gown surrounded by three people in protective gowns, masks and hair nets
Mr Navalny was in a coma for almost three weeks.(Supplied/Instagram)

Citing flight records and metadata and geolocation data from mobile phones, investigative website Bellingcat and Russian media outlet The Insider published results of a joint investigation on Monday local time, carried out in cooperation with Der Spiegel and CNN.

The investigation named names and poison laboratories, and said FSB operatives "that have specialised training in chemical weapons, chemistry and medicine" had secretly followed Mr Navalny around Russia for the last four years more than 37 times.

"These operatives were in the vicinity of the opposition activist in the days and hours of the time-range during which he was poisoned with a military-grade chemical weapon," Bellingcat said.

Mr Navalny said his own investigators had checked the findings and that the case was now solved despite the absence of an official investigation in Russia.

"I know who wanted to kill me. I know where they live. I know where they work. I know their real names. I know their fake names. I have their photos," Navalny said in a video, in which he can be seen clutching photos of the men named in the investigation.

People pass a mock offer of "Novichok Tea" in front of a picture of Russian President Vladimir Putin
People pass a mock offer of "Novichok Tea" in front of a picture of Russian President Vladimir Putin outside the Russian embassy during a protest in Berlin.(Reuters: Hannibal Hanschke)

Mr Navalny said he now believed that Mr Putin had ordered the operation against him in revenge for his declaring in late 2016 that he would run for the Russian presidency in 2018, a contest he was later barred from on a technicality.

The Kremlin, which has suggested Mr Navalny is working with the CIA, has denied Mr Putin had anything to do with Mr Navalny's poisoning.

Reuters

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2020-12-14 19:46:00Z
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