- “As soon as this citizen’s wife approached me, I immediately ordered the prosecutor to check whether it was possible for him to leave the country for treatment,” Putin said.
- Observers say this is, in a way, aimed at Putin absolving himself from blame over the issue.
- The European Union on Thursday officially announced the adoption of sanctions against six close allies of President Putin.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday that he personally intervened and okayed the evacuation of Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny to Germany to be treated, following pleas from his wife after he was allegedly poisoned. Putin spoke via video conference at a discussion forum in Moscow.
“As soon as this citizen’s wife approached me, I immediately ordered the prosecutor to check whether it was possible for him to leave the country for treatment,” Putin said.
He explained that in spite of what he termed as ”judicial restrictions,” he intervened and asked the Russian attorney general to allow Navalny to leave Russia for urgent treatment in Berlin.
As per Putin’s elaboration, the said judicial “restrictions” barred Navalny from leaving Russia for treatment abroad. “I immediately asked the Prosecutor General to allow this [his evacuation]. And he left,” the Russian President added.
Navalny was a victim of a poisoning in August with a Novichok-type neurotoxic substance, created in Soviet times for military purposes. Since then, several Western countries have called on Russia to thoroughly investigate the case and leave no stone unturned.
Navalny Accuses Putin
Observers say that Putin’s argument, that he intervened to help Navalny leave Russia for treatment abroad, is in a way aimed at absolving himself from blame over the issue. On his part, the Russian opposition politician has on several occassions accused Putin of being behind his poisoning.
“I assert that Putin is behind this act, I don’t see any other explanation,” Navalny told the German weekly Der Spiegel in an interview held earlier this month. Navalny is currently continuing with his recovery in the German capital.
Navalny has also initially argued that the poisoning could have something to do with the Duma elections, that will take place next year, saying that there are many indications that Russia’s president is possessed by the idea of secret poisonings.
At the time of his poisoning, Navalny was in the process of campaigning for opposition candidates scheduled to run in regional elections in Western Russia.
Meanwhile, the European Union on Thursday officially announced the adoption of sanctions against six close allies of President Putin over the Navalny poisoning saga, a decision that prompted a strong reaction from Moscow.
The list of sanctioned officials includes the head of the Internal Policy Directorate of the Russian presidency, the director of the Federal Security Service, two deputy defense ministers, a senior official from the Executive Office of the presidency and Putin’s representative in Siberia.
All of them, according to the European Union (EU), have responsibility for the poisoning of Navalny with a nerve agent from the Novichok group.
They helped the people in charge of executing the attack or gave consent to the action. The sanctions include a freeze on assets and a ban on travel to EU territory.