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Putin claims he was prepared to exchange Navalny, but "sad event" happened

Sunday, 17 March 2024, 23:53
Putin claims he was prepared to exchange Navalny, but sad event happened
Vladimir Putin. Photo: Getty Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin has called the death of opposition leader Alexei Navalny in a Russian prison a "sad event" and claimed he had been prepared to exchange him.

Source: Putin speaking at his campaign headquarters on Sunday evening, as quoted by Russian Kremlin-aligned news agencies RIA Novosti and TASS

Quote: "Concerning Mr Navalny. Yes, he passed away, it's always a sad event. Well, we've had other cases where people have passed away in prison. Hasn't that happened in the United States? It has, many times.

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Let me tell you something – this will be unexpected. A few days before Mr Navalny passed away, some colleagues, some people told me that there was an idea to exchange Mr Navalny for some people who were imprisoned in Western countries. You can believe me or not, but before the person who was speaking to me had even finished the sentence, I said: ‘I agree. Only on one condition: we’ll exchange him so that he does not return. Let him stay there.’ But unfortunately, what happened happened."

Background:

  • On the afternoon of 16 February, Russia’s Federal Penitentiary Service reported the death of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny at Correctional Facility No. 3 in Kharp, Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug, in northwestern Siberia.
  • Alexei Navalny had been imprisoned since early 2021. The Moscow City Court sentenced him to 19 years in prison in a high-security prison for "extremism" in August 2023.
  • Maria Pevchikh, head of the Anti-Corruption Foundation formerly headed by Alexei Navalny, said on 26 February that an agreement had been reached to swap the opposition politician in a prisoner exchange, but he died in prison while the negotiations were in the final stages.
  • Navalny was aware of the prisoner swap plan and had agreed to it, Reuters reported.

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