According to Vladimir Putin, if Russia wanted to kill Navalny’s opposition leader, it “finished” the work

Putin’s remarks responded to a question raised at an annual press conference following an investigation by Bellingcat and the CNN investigation team on Monday, which revealed evidence that the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) had formed an elementary team after Navalny. for years.
Navalny was poisoned with Novichok toxin in August and nearly died. He was taken to Berlin for medical treatment. The Kremlin has repeatedly denied any involvement in its poisoning.

“Listen, we know very well what this is … it’s a legalization, not an investigation, it’s a legalization of U.S. special services materials,” Putin said Thursday.

“We don’t know they’re tracking the scene? Our special services know this perfectly, FSB officials and officials from other agencies know it. They use their phones where they think it’s necessary not to hide their location. And if that’s it – and that’s it. also – it means that this patient at the Berlin clinic enjoys the support of the US special services in this, “Putin said.

“And if that ‘s right, it’ s interesting, of course [our] special services need to pay attention to it. But that doesn’t mean you have to be poisoned, anyone who needs it anyway? If [they] they wanted, they would probably have finished, “Putin added.

“But in this case, his wife asked me and I immediately ordered him to be let out of the country to be treated in Germany … It’s a trick to attack the leaders [in Russia]. “

Putin also described reports of Navalny as “implanted stories.”

“There’s really nothing surprising about the fact that these implanted stories are going on. There always have been and will be. It’s the kind of information confrontation going on.

Putin’s remarks came a day after Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said reports of details of the poisoning of opposition Alexei Navalny were “funny to read” as an obvious reference to the CNN-Bellingcat investigation.

Putin held a lengthy press conference at his residence in Novo-Ogaryovo in the Moscow region. A select group of socially marginalized state media journalists who had to quarantine before participating were in the room with him. Other journalists asked questions from Moscow and elsewhere via a video link.

Putin urges mass vaccination

Earlier in the press conference, Putin, who is 68, confirmed that he had not been vaccinated with a Russian coronavirus vaccine, Sputnik V, as it is still not recommended for people over 60 years of age.

With the introduction of the vaccine, an attack of disinformation occurs

“The vaccines that are being distributed among the population today are for people of a certain age group, and the vaccines have not yet reached people like me,” Putin said.

“I am a law-abiding citizen on this issue, I listen to the recommendations of our experts and I have not taken them into account so far. But I will do so as soon as the opportunity arises.”

Russia registered Sputnik V in August ahead of large-scale Phase 3 trials to determine the effectiveness and safety of the vaccine, sparking skepticism both in Russia and internationally. According to the product specification, the vaccine is recommended for people aged between 18 and 60, and is not recommended for people with many chronic diseases and conditions.

“I think it is necessary [have mass vaccination], experts around the world say that mass vaccination is one of the very few ways to combat this epidemic, we need to create public immunity, “- said Putin.” And I repeat, our vaccination is effective and safe, so I see no reason not to vaccinate. “

Phase 3 trials are currently underway, but the country is already moving toward mass vaccination. According to the Russian direct investment fund supporting the development of the vaccine, more than 200,000 Russian vaccines had been vaccinated by 14 December.

During the press conference, Putin also addressed the production challenges facing Russia, saying that the country does not yet have enough “hardware” to produce the necessary vaccine and is working to increase the number of suitable production sites.

CNN’s Mary Ilyushina wrote from Moscow and Laura Smith-Spark from London.