translated from Spanish: Putin denies any involvement in political enemy poisoning

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday rejected the signs that the Kremlin was behind the poisoning of its main political enemy, opposition leader Alexei Navalny, and accused U.S. intelligence agencies of promoting those versions. Speaking during his marathon annual press conference, which this year was done on video calling, the Russian leader added that if the Kremlin had wanted to poison Navalny, he would have completed the task.” If there had been such a wish, it would have been made,” Putin said with a little laugh. Navalny got sick on August 20 during an internal flight in Russia, and two days later he was taken in a coma to Germany for treatment. Laboratories in Germany, France and Sweden, and tests from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, established that he was exposed to the Soviet-era neurotoxic agent Novichok. The Russian authorities have vehemently rejected accusations of involvement in the poisoning. On Monday, research group Bellingcat and Russian media the Insider published a report alleging that FSB agents — Russia’s domestic security agency, which performs the main functions of the former KGB — followed Navalny during his travels since 2017. He said the agents had “specialized training in chemical weapons, chemistry and medicine” and that they “were in the vicinity of the opposition activist in the days and hours of the time he was poisoned.” The research, conducted by Bellingcat and The Insider in cooperation with CNN and Der Spiegel, identified the FSB’s alleged operations and laboratories where poisons such as Novichok were manufactured after analyzing telephone metadata and flight information. He mentioned two cases in 2019 and 2020, in which Navalny or his wife Yulia suffered unexplained symptoms.

Original source in Spanish

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