NewsPutin admits to planned Navalny swap before critic's unexpected death

Putin admits to planned Navalny swap before critic's unexpected death

Russian President Putin addresses election results
epa11227164 Russian President and presidential candidate Vladimir Putin meets with the media at his campaign headquarters in Moscow, Russia, 18 March 2024. Based on the results of processing more than 70 percent of the protocols, Vladimir Putin is the leader in the presidential elections of the Russian Federation with 87.16 percent of the votes, according to the CEC data.  EPA/MIKHAIL METZEL/SPUTNIK/KREMLIN POOL MANDATORY CREDIT 
Dostawca: PAP/EPA.
MIKHAIL METZEL/SPUTNIK/KREMLIN POOL
Russian President Putin addresses election results epa11227164 Russian President and presidential candidate Vladimir Putin meets with the media at his campaign headquarters in Moscow, Russia, 18 March 2024. Based on the results of processing more than 70 percent of the protocols, Vladimir Putin is the leader in the presidential elections of the Russian Federation with 87.16 percent of the votes, according to the CEC data. EPA/MIKHAIL METZEL/SPUTNIK/KREMLIN POOL MANDATORY CREDIT Dostawca: PAP/EPA. MIKHAIL METZEL/SPUTNIK/KREMLIN POOL
Images source: © PAP | MIKHAIL METZEL/SPUTNIK/KREMLIN POOL
2:08 PM EDT, March 18, 2024

Vladimir Putin confirmed media reports that just before the death of Alexei Navalny, he had agreed to exchange him for Russians held in the West. "He is gone, which is always a sad event," the Russian leader stated.

Many reports by Russian media or representatives of the authorities should be viewed critically. These reports often serve as elements of propaganda, part of the broader information war conducted by the Russian Federation.

On February 15th, Russian authorities announced the unexpected death of Navalny. He was the most prominent political opponent of President Vladimir Putin, having died in a labor camp located beyond the Arctic Circle, where he was serving a 19-year prison sentence.

According to recent reports, Putin met with Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich shortly before Navalny's death to discuss the details of the planned prisoner exchange involving Navalny. This meeting focused on the specifics of the proposed exchange.

The discussions occurred about four hours before the prison authorities' first announcement about the opposition figure's death—a situation reported by the Russian investigative portal Agency at the beginning of March.

Putin confirms media reports

On Sunday, during a speech at the headquarters of the Central Election Commission, right after the announcement of the preliminary results of the presidential elections, Vladimir Putin confirmed his agreement to exchange Navalny for Russian prisoners in the West.

He explained that discussions about releasing the Russian opposition figure occurred shortly before his unexpected death. "Yes, he died. It's always a sad event. We've seen similar cases elsewhere. Remember the USA? There was an intention to exchange Navalny for those in Western countries, and I agreed to it, we wanted to facilitate the exchange, so he wouldn't return. But, death happens, such is life," he said in a rather dismissive tone.

Maria Pevchikh, who worked with Navalny, has already strongly condemned Putin's statement. "I'm at a loss for words. What cynical, deceitful scum. It's beyond imagination," she wrote on the platform X.

According to exit poll results released by the Russian agency TASS on Sunday evening, Vladimir Putin secured over 87 percent of the votes in the presidential election. Nevertheless, expect few congratulatory messages from international leaders. The credibility of the elections is disputed in the West, and experts recommend dismissing the results.

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