April 22, 2024

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Navalny was about to be released from prison before his death, ally says  Politics news

Navalny was about to be released from prison before his death, ally says Politics news

Alexei Navalny was to be released in exchange for the release of a Russian FSB killer imprisoned in Germany, Maria Pevchikh said.

Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny was on the verge of being released in a prisoner exchange before his sudden death, according to his ally Maria Pevchikh.

In a video posted on YouTube on Monday, Pevchikh claimed that the planned swap involved exchanging Navalny and two unnamed US citizens for Vadim Krasikov, a Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) killer in Germany.

Navalny, an outspoken critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, died at the age of 47 in an Arctic penal colony, where he was serving a 19-year prison sentence on extremism charges when he reportedly collapsed after walking on the prison grounds.

“Alexey Navalny could sit in this seat now, today. “This is not a metaphor, it could and should have happened,” Pevchik said.

He added: “Navalny should have been out in the next few days because we got a decision on his exchange. In early February, Putin was offered to exchange the killer, FSB officer Vadim Krasikov, who is serving a prison sentence for a murder in Berlin, for two American citizens and Alexei Navalny.

A German spokesman said in a press conference on Monday that the government was aware of the reports of the alleged swap, but could not comment on them.

Russian assassin Krasikov, who was part of the alleged deal, was sentenced to life in prison in Germany after being found guilty of killing an exiled Chechen Georgian opposition figure in Berlin's Tiergarten Park in 2019 – an assassination that German authorities say was ordered by Russian intelligence services.

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In an interview with American journalist Tucker Carlson earlier in February, Putin indicated his desire to get Krasikov back.

Pevchik did not mention the identity of the American citizens, but Washington had previously said it was trying to return Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich and Paul Whelan, a former US Marine, to the United States.

Pevcikh claimed that the potential deal was in its final stages on the evening of February 15. She said Navalny was killed the next day because Putin could not bear the thought of releasing him.

World leaders, including the United States, have blamed Navalny's death at the hands of Putin and issued sanctions in response.

However, the Kremlin denied allegations that Moscow had anything to do with his sudden death and criticized those who made such accusations without providing evidence.