In his first comments to the investigation, Putin did not dispute any details of the findings, but essentially confirmed that FSB agents had indeed made Navalny a mark.
Putin claimed without evidence that Navalny – whom he referred to as “this patient in the Berlin Clinic” – is being supported by the US intelligence services, adding, “If that’s right, it’s interesting.” , So definitely [our] Special services need to monitor that. “
“But that doesn’t mean he needs poison, which is what he needs anyway? If.” [they] Wish they could get it done, “Putin said.” But in this case, his wife asked me, and I immediately ordered him to go out of the country for treatment in Germany … This is the trick to attack the leaders [in Russia]. “
In a CNN report published on Monday, toxicology experts said that Novichok can take up to 12 hours to affect the nervous system, depending on the dosage of how it is administered. Lacking to inject exactly the right dose into someone, it is almost impossible for the offender to dose Novichok so that it becomes incapacitated rather than killed.
Putin described reports about Navalny – to whom he was not referred by any name – as “transplanted stories.”
“There really is nothing surprising about the fact that these implanted stories are happening. They always have been and always will be.”
Putin held a marathon press conference at his Novo-Ogaryovo residence in the Moscow region. A select group of socially deformed state media reporters, who had to undergo quarantine before appearing, were in the room with him. Other journalists and Citizens posed questions via video link from Moscow and elsewhere.
In a short Q&A session after the 4.5-hour event, Putin claimed the CNN-Bellingcat investigation, which established that a group of FSB agents implicated opposition leader Navalny, using billing data obtained by Bellingcat, the foreigner Was a form of “information warfare” reported by. special services.
Asked whether he believed the personal data of Russian security officials “being stolen” by other intelligence agencies is a “regular thing,” Putin replied: “It happens all the time and everywhere Happens, we know that they are not hiding either, and some former NSA employees talk about this in general, not only in our context, but also about their own citizens.
“This is how special services work there. I honestly don’t see anything [special] In this, it is just a compilation, a dump where everything is being dumped, dumped, dumped in the hope that it will impact the citizens, creating mistrust of the political leadership. ” Putin said. ” It is one of the forms. War war
Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov was also asked that Navalny is being surveyed by a group of FSB agents who were identified in the CNN-Bellingcat investigation.
“The president said why are they keeping an eye on him … the growing ‘ear’ of foreign special services and as we have repeatedly said, various statements about the overthrow of the government also raise a lot of questions, “Peskov said.
Meanwhile, Navalny, who is continuing his recovery in Germany after spending weeks in a coma at Berlin’s Charité Clinic, on Thursday questioned Russian officials about poisoning for the first time.
Navalny wrote on his Facebook page, “I spent the first half of the day in the German prosecutor’s office. They questioned me at the request of the Russian side.”
“[Russian authorities] Asked [the German side] Sent me to inquire and to their questions. I was asked these questions, the answers were in protocol and would be sent to Moscow, ”Navalny said in his post.
Russian officials have been requesting material from the German investigation for months.
Putin denied interference in US elections
Putin also addressed the question of Russia’s turbulent relationship with the US, saying he hoped some problems would be resolved under the incoming administration of President-Elect Joe Biden.
“We move on from the fact that the elected president of the United States will understand what is going on – he is a veteran in both domestic and foreign policy,” Putin said.
Asked why Russian hackers “did not help Trump get elected” for the 2020 presidential race, Putin answered the question – from renowned musician-journalist Sergey Schnarov – as a provocation and once Then denied any interference in the US elections.
“Russian hackers still did not help the acting US president get elected and interfere in the internal affairs of this great country,” Putin said. “This is only a speculation. It is an excuse for hurting US-Russia relations; it is an excuse for not accepting the legitimacy of America’s still acting chief due to internal political reasons.”
Trump repeatedly dismissed claims that Russia had tried to help him win in 2016 as a “hoax”.
Television station RTVI’s Shanrov also half-jokingly asked Putin if Russia would be ready to support Trump after he stepped down and gave him a job or asylum in Russia, as given to former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.
“Trump is not required to search for a job [in Russia]. About 50% of the population voted him if we count the popular vote and not the Electoral College, “Putin said.”[Trump] There is a fairly large base within the United States, and, as far as I understand, it is not going to leave the political life of its country. “
Putin then accused the US intelligence services of interfering in Russia’s domestic affairs, without presenting any evidence, “planting” stories about the financial activities of his family and colleagues.
Putin said, “This is the State Department and the US security services. They are the de facto authors. Anyway, this is clearly done on their orders.” It is quite clear. He said that “the goal is to take revenge and try to influence public opinion in our country.”
Putin, who has been in power for two decades, said that he has not yet decided whether he will stand for president again in 2024, when his current term ends.
Putin urges mass vaccination
Earlier in the press conference, Putin – who is 68 – has been confirmed that he has not been vaccinated with the Russian coronavirus vaccine, Sputnik V, as it is not recommended for people over the age of 60.
“The vaccines that are being transmitted today among the general population are for people of a certain age group, and the vaccines still haven’t reached people like me,” Putin said.
“I am a law-abiding citizen in that case, I listen to the recommendations of our experts and have not taken it so far. But as soon as it becomes a possibility, I will do it.”
Russia registered Sputnik V in August, ahead of the large-scale Phase 3 trials needed to establish the efficacy and safety of the vaccine, drawing suspicion both in Russia and internationally. According to the product description, the vaccine is used for people between 18 and 60 years of age and is not recommended for people with many chronic diseases and health conditions.
“I think it’s necessary [have mass vaccination], Experts around the world say mass vaccination is one of the very few ways to reverse this epidemic, it should create population immunity, “Putin said.” And I repeat that our vaccine is effective and safe, so I see no reason. Vaccination. “
During the news conference, Putin also emphasized the production challenges facing Russia, saying the country does not yet have enough “hardware” to manufacture the required amount of vaccine and work to increase the number of suitable production sites. Has been doing.
CNN’s Mary Ilushina from Moscow reported and Laura Smith-Spark from London wrote. Anna Chernova of CNN contributed to this report.