US Intel Official Says Putin Not Likely Behind Navalny’s Death

Russian President Vladimir Putin probably didn’t tell anyone to kill opposition leader Alexei Navalny, a high-ranking U.S. intelligence official told The Wall Street Journal.

Navalny died in a Russian prison in February, and many foreign leaders blamed Putin, thinking it was a political murder. But the official said Putin is still to blame for Navalny’s death, even if he didn’t directly order it or know exactly when or how it would happen.

The official said most U.S. intelligence agencies agree that there’s no clear evidence linking Putin to Navalny’s death.

US Intel Official Says Putin Not Likely Behind Navalny's Death
Opposition leader Alexei Navalny

President Biden criticized Putin strongly after Navalny died, holding him responsible but not saying he ordered the killing, because the details were unclear.

“If reports of his death are true, which I believe they are, Russian authorities will have their own explanation,” Biden said from the White House. “But make no mistake: Putin is responsible for Navalny’s death. What happened to Navalny shows how brutal Putin is. No one should be fooled.”

Russian officials insist Navalny died of natural causes and deny any involvement.

Just a few weeks after Navalny died, Putin was re-elected for a fifth term in nationwide elections.

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