Saturday, May 7, 2022

Putin’s assassin betrayed the president through an amazing prank call from his rival

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Alexei Navalny – a vocal critic of Vladimir Putin – survived an attempted Novichok poisoning in 2020, and now a BBC documentary has followed his attempts to track down Putin’s hit squad

A stunning documentary has shown how a hit squad member ordered by Russian President Vladimir Putin to assassinate a political opponent was tricked into revealing the details of the plan to the man he was trying to assassinate.

Alexei Navalny is currently jailed in Russia for violating the terms of a suspended sentence after failing to report to police while in a coma after being poisoned with a Novichok nerve agent.

The 45-year-old had fallen ill after collapsing on a flight over Serbia. It was later revealed he had been poisoned with Novichok – the same nerve agent used in the failed attempt to kill former Russian spy Sergie Skripal in Salisbury in 2018.

Now a BBC documentary about Navalny, which followed the politician shortly after he was poisoned, has revealed his extraordinary attempts to contact the team that nearly killed him.

After working with the open-source research group Bellingcat to track down the assassination team, Navalny tracked down the members one by one, hoping to learn more details about how and why they tried to kill him.

First, the opposition leader tried the brazen approach of immediately identifying himself.

“Do you recognize me? This is Alexei Navalny, and I was hoping you could tell me why you wanted to kill me? What specific problem do you have with me?” he asked.

Not surprisingly, this was met with silence on the other end of the line. So Navalny changed his approach and pretended to work as a member of a squad gathering details of why the assassination attempt failed.

And after calling the scientist involved, Konstantin Kudryavstev, Navalny finally hit the jackpot.

When trying to explain why the assassination plot had failed, the man described: “We did it exactly as planned, just as we rehearsed many times. But in our profession, as you know, there are many unknowns and nuances.”

The first failure, Konstantin suggested, was caused by an emergency landing of Navalny’s flight after it was discovered he had fallen ill, which allowed him to get medical attention quickly.

In fact, the scientist was even persuaded to describe the dose of novichok they had used, admitting that they had “extra applied” to safely kill Putin’s critics.

In a startling revelation, Konstantin even revealed where the poison had been placed after Navalny asked which items of clothing had the highest risk factor.

“The underpants,” he said. “The inner part where the crotch is.”

Navalny then took the prank to its limits, asking the failed assassin what he thought of Putin’s most notorious adversary.

“He doesn’t take unnecessary steps, always carefully and meticulously,” Konstantin replied. “Maybe he had an inkling that our boys were following him.”

After the tense phone call ended, Navalny and his team were visibly shocked at the level of detail they were able to get from the scientist.

“He spilled the whole story… Poor guy, they’re going to kill him,” Navalny said.

Putin has consistently denied the conspiracy and even refuses to publicly name Navalny.

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