İrem UZUN -TDO- Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed Thursday that opposition politician Alexey Navalny is enjoying the support of the U.S. special services. “Who needs to poison him,” he said during a nationally televised press conference, denying that Russia’s FSB spy agency was involved. “If Russian special services had wanted to kill him, they would have "finished it," he added.
Putin's comments came in response to a question at his annual press conference following an investigation by the investigative group Bellingcat and CNN, published Monday, which uncovered evidence that Russia's Federal Security Service (the FSB) formed an elite team specializing in nerve agents that trailed Navalny for years. Navalny was poisoned with the toxin Novichok in August and nearly died. After initial treatment in Siberia, he was taken to a clinic in Berlin. The Kremlin has repeatedly denied any involvement in his poisoning. Putin avoids mentioning Navalny’s name in public and only referred to him as “the patient from the Berlin clinic”.
In a statement posted to Facebook after Putin's response, Navalny asserted that the Russian president's answer represented a partial but very important confession of guilt. "The evidence is so strong that it is impossible to argue with it," Navalny said.