A Kremlin critic publishes the voice as the agent appears to admit the plot.
Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny said he tricked a Russian intelligence officer into mistakenly admitting his roles and those of other officers in Navalny was poisoned with a nerve gas this summer.
Navalny on Monday He posted a voice over the internet for a 49-minute call With the alleged officer, in whom Navalny poses as a senior Russian official.
at the sound, The man appears to confirm that he was part of a team of activists Russia The local intelligence agency FSB that poisoned Navalny and suggested that it exposed him to the nerve gas Novichok through his underwear.
The call was recorded by the independent investigation team, Bellingcat, which last week published a very detailed investigation that identified several FSB clients She said she was part of a squad that succeeded Navalny for years and was in the Siberian city of Tomsk when he was poisoned.
Russia denied any involvement in the poisoning of Navalny and last week, President Vladimir Putin tried to reject the Bellingcat investigation, insisting that it was an invention of US intelligence agencies.
Navalny and Bellingcat said they had attempted to contact two of the alleged agents, including the man in this call, who was identified as Konstantin Kudryavtsev, a FSB member who trained at a military academy of biochemicals and previously worked at the Institute for Biological Warfare within the Department of Defense. They said the call took place last week, hours before the new Bellingcat investigation was published.
In the audio recording, Navalny introduced himself As Maxim Ustinov, the fictional aide to the powerful head of the Russian Security Council, Nikolai Patrushev. Navalny pretends to invite members of the FSB team at Patrushev’s request to prepare a subsequent report to understand why he failed to kill the opposition leader.
Kudryavtsev, responding when Navalny calls him by his name, was extremely cautious at first and repeatedly asked Navalny whether they should speak on a secure line, but over the course of the call, he slowly answers questions about the process.
Kudryavtsev notes that his job was to ensure that no traces of nerve gas were left on Navalny’s clothes, which were confiscated by local police after he was taken to hospital in Omsk. Kudryavtsev says he traveled twice there to “treat Navalny’s” belongings “so that there are no traces.”
He noted that colleagues had put nerve gas on Navalny’s underwear, and told him that this was where he was ordered to focus clean-up efforts.
“They asked us to work on the inner side of the underwear,” he says.
Asked by Navalny about the reason for their failure to kill him, Kudriavtsev said he believed it was because the plane in which he contracted the disease made an emergency landing and paramedics at the airport gave him atropine, which blocks nerve agents.
He said, “The situation has evolved in a way … not in our interest, I think.” He said, “If it flew for a little longer and somehow didn’t land in it all of a sudden and so on, then it might have gone differently.”
Kudryavtsev refers, many times and in an unprecedented manner, to the officers he appointed as part of the operation, including Colonel Stanislav Makshakov, a chemical weapons expert who Bellingcat says the phone records spoke repeatedly with other FSB officers who had succeeded Navalny.
He told Navalny more than once to “call Makshakov,” who could tell him more about his nerve gas doses.
Bellingcat said Navalny also managed to speak briefly with another FSB officer, whom Kudryavtsev referred to in the call, Mikhail Evdokimov, head of the agency’s domestic counterterrorism branch in Omsk. Evdokimov assured Navalny – once again posing that he was responsible – that he had received Navalny’s clothes from Kudryavtsev, Bellingcat said, but refused to speak further on an insecure line.
On Monday, the Federal Security Service rejected the call as “fake” and claimed that “foreign security services” could have produced it, and said in a statement that it was investigating the matter and indicated that there may be consequences for the deployment.
In his denials last week, Putin implicitly admitted that FSB agents had stopped Navalny, but said that if they wanted to poison him, “they would have finished the job.”
Journalists and one of Navalny’s colleagues, Lyubov Sobol, on Monday tried to visit the Kudryavtev-listed apartment. A busload of policemen later arrived, detained Sobol and took the journalists out of the building.