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Navalny was going to be freed alongside two US citizens in prisoner swap, his ally says

"Putin has gone mad with hatred for Navalny," the Russian opposition leader's ally said.

Published: February 26, 2024 10:14am

Alexei Navalny was set to be exchanged in a prisoner swap alongside two U.S. citizens currently being held in Russia before he died, according to Maria Pevchikh, an ally of the late Russian opposition leader.

Repeating allegations from friends and supporters that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered Navalny's death, Pevchikh said Monday in a video posted to Navalny's YouTube channel that the Kremlin had been offered a prisoner swap in early February and negotiations were in their final stages just before Navalny's death.

The proposed plan was to swap Vadim Krasikov, a Russian hitman imprisoned in Germany, in exchange for Navalny and two unnamed U.S. citizens, per Pevchikh.

Pevchikh said that Putin had Navalny killed because he couldn't "tolerate" the thought of him being free.  

"It's absolutely illogical, absolutely irrational, it's the behavior of a mad mafioso. But the point is that Putin has gone mad with hatred for Navalny," Pevchikh said, as translated.

Reports emerged earlier this month that Krasikov could be exchanged for Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich and even potentially Navalny. In addition to Gershkovich, former U.S. Marine Paul Whelan, who was dismissed from the armed forces on a bad conduct discharge, is also being held in Russia on espionage.

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