Russian President Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinEquilibrium/Sustainability — Presented by Southern Company — Nations plan to pump oil despite net zero promises Major Russian hacking group linked to ransomware attack on Sinclair: report Putin orders workers home for one week as COVID-19 deaths soar MORE on Thursday blasted reports about a poisoning attempt targeting opposition leader Aleksei Navalny, saying if Russian agents wanted him dead they would have “probably finished it.”
Putin made the remark during his annual press conference, CNN reported, following a report from Bellingcat on Monday that reveled an operation to trail the opposition leader by the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB).
The Russian president said the investigation was “the legalization of the materials of American special services,” according to CNN. He added that Navalny is “enjoying the support of the US special services in this.”
"And if that's correct, then that's interesting, then of course [our] special services need to keep an eye on him,” Putin said, according to CNN. "But that doesn't mean he needs to be poisoned, who needs him anyway? If [they] wanted to, they would've probably finished it.”
The report published Monday reveled that three officers from the FSB followed Navalny to Siberia in August, and trailed him to the city of Tomsk. Further data revealed that one of the agents was not far from the hotel where Nalvany was staying.
Navalny was poisoned in August and nearly died. He was taken to Germany from treatment, and released from the hospital the following month. Physicians at the hospital said it was possible for him to fully recover, but the long-term effects of the poison were not yet known.
Russia has repeatedly denied being involved in Navalany’s poisoning. Last month, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov suggested that the opposition leader could have been poisoned in Germany or while on the plane for treatment.