Ally Claims Navalny Was Nearly Freed In Prisoner Exchange

A close associate of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny claimed that Russian President Vladimir Putin had him “killed” because a prisoner exchange was close to being approved and Putin did not want him released, Reuters reported.

In a recent video posted on YouTube, Navalny’s ally Maria Pevchikh claimed without evidence that talks were underway to exchange Navalny along with two imprisoned Americans for Russian FSB hitman Vadim Krasikov who is serving a life sentence in Germany.

Pevchikh, who is the chair of Navalny’s anti-corruption group, claimed that talks were in the final stages when Navalny unexpectedly died on February 16.

She claimed that Navalny was expected to be released within days of his death after Putin was offered Krasikov in exchange for Navalny and two Americans.

Navalny’s wife Yulia Navalnaya shared Pevchikh’s video on X and vowed to find out exactly who ordered her husband’s death and how the crime was executed.

One unnamed Western official disputed Pevchikh’s claim, telling Reuters that there was no formal offer of a prisoner exchange that included Alexei Navalny, however, early discussions between Germany, the United States, and Russia were underway.

Russian sources told Reuters that there had been talks about swapping Navalny and an exchange was agreed on “in principle.”

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, however, said he was not aware of any prisoner exchange involving Navalny.

Vadim Krasikov was sentenced in Germany to life in prison for the 2019 murder of an exiled Chechen dissident in Berlin.

In a recent interview with Tucker Carlson, President Putin indicated that he wanted to secure the release of Krasikov, whom he described as a “patriot.”

Maria Pevchikh said in her video that she received confirmation on February 15 that the prisoner exchange deal was in its final stages. The following day, Putin had Navalny killed, Pevchikh alleged, because he could not tolerate the idea of Navalny being free.