Putin Denies Government Involvement in Navalny Poisoning

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday dismissed a media investigation that identified those responsible for poisoning opposition leader Alexei Navalny as state security assassins. Speaking during his annual news conference, Putin called the report a “trick” and said Navalny was not important enough to be the target of such an attack. Putin added an accusation that Navalny received support from U.S. intelligence agencies. Russian Opposition Leader Navalny Trailed for Years Before Poisoning, Report Says An elite Russian intelligence chemical weapons unit tracked opposition figure Alexei Navalny for the past three years, according to investigative website BellingcatNavalny fell ill during a flight in Russia in August and was later flown to Germany for treatment.  Labs in Germany, France and Sweden said he was poisoned with Novichok, the same class of Soviet-era agent that Britain said was used on former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury, England, in 2018. Putin spoke about a range of topics during his appearance Thursday, including the incoming administration of U.S. President-elect Joe Biden. Putin said he hopes the change in president in January will help resolve some difficult issues in U.S.-Russian relations. In 2017, the U.S. intelligence community assessed Putin ordered an influence campaign targeting the 2016 U.S. presidential election with a goal of helping President Donald Trump’s chances of winning.  A later investigation led by special counsel Robert Mueller detailed “sweeping and systemic” Russian government interference. Putin on Thursday reiterated Russia’s denial of the U.S. accusations. 

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