US intel signals Putin not directly to blame for Navalny’s untimely death: Reports

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U.S. intelligence agencies signal that Russian President Vladimir Putin may not have planned for Alexei Navalny to have died when he did, a new report said.

The Wall Street Journal report said U.S. agencies have determined that Putin likely didn’t order Navalny to be killed in February, but it doesn’t entirely excuse him from responsibility.

The determination has been shared and agreed upon by officials at the Central Intelligence Agency, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the State Department’s intelligence unit.

Navalny, a Russian opposition leader, rose to prominence for his campaign against corruption and Putin. When he died in the remote Arctic penal colony at the age of 47, his death shocked the world, and fingers were immediately pointed at Putin.

The Russian Federal Prison Service said he felt unwell after a walk and lost consciousness. An ambulance was called and crews tried to rehabilitate him, but they were unsuccessful.

Navalny had been imprisoned since 2021 when he came back to Russia after recovering from a poisoning that he blamed on Putin. The Russian president denied the allegations.

In a statement to the Journal, Leonid Volkov, a longtime Navalny ally, rejected the U.S. intelligence assessment and said those who assert that Putin wasn’t aware of Navalny’s death “clearly do not understand anything about how modern day Russia runs.”

“The idea of Putin being not informed and not approving killing Navalny is ridiculous,” he said.

The Journal reported that the U.S. intelligence assessment was based on a range of information, including classified intelligence, public facts and how the timing of Navalny’s death overshadowed Putin’s reelection.

The sources who spoke with the outlet didn’t say if the U.S. assessed how Navalny died, though it was reported he died from “sudden death syndrome,” which is a general term used to describe various cardiac syndromes.  

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