Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny tricked one of the agents allegedly involved in an operation to poison him into confessing to the plot, investigative site Bellingcat reported Monday.
Navalny, pretending to be a senior official, phoned a member of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) — which has been accused of trying to murder him in August — and demanded to know why the assassination attempt had failed.
The operative, Konstantin Kudryavtsev, seemed to believe Navalny’s cover and spoke in detail about the effort to poison the opposition leader, apparently confirming the FSB’s involvement.
Navalny fell ill during a flight and was rushed to a hospital in Siberia following an emergency landing. He was eventually evacuated to Germany, where toxicology tests showed that he was poisoned with the Russian nerve agent Novichok.
“If [the plane] had flown a little longer and they hadn’t landed it abruptly somehow and so on, maybe it all would have gone differently,” Kudryavtsev said during the 49-minute phone call. “If it hadn’t been for the prompt work of the medics, the paramedics on the landing strip, and so on.”
He also said that the Novichok was put onto Navalny’s underwear in his hotel room: “They told us to work on the inner side of the underpants.”
Russia has repeatedly denied any involvement in Navalny’s poisoning. Last week, President Vladimir Putin told reporters that if Russian operatives had been behind the attempted murder, “probably they would have finished it.”
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