Ukraine's Top Spy Chief Says Navalny Died From Blood Clot, Rejects 'Murder' Narrative

In a very unexpected plot twist, Ukraine appears to be in agreement with the Kremlin on Alexei Navalny's death inside a far northern Russian prison which occurred on Feb. 16 and was listed by Russian authorities as officially due to "natural causes". The dominant Western narrative has thus far been that Putin had him "murdered". 

Yet now Kiev sources are saying that the anti-Putin activist supported by the West died of a blood clot. Surprisingly, this explanation is being advanced among Ukraine media sources after none other than Gen. Kyrylo Budanov, chief of the Main Directorate of Intelligence (HUR), bluntly stated it to a group of journalists on Sunday. "I may disappoint you, but as far as we know, he indeed died as a result of a blood clot. And this has been more or less confirmed," Budanov stated.

"This wasn't sourced from the internet, but, unfortunately, natural [causes]," he added in the remarks which were also caught on video. The spy chief's words were also picked up in The Daily Mail, though predictably US mainstream outlets have been slow to acknowledge the assessment.

Further, the NATO-friendly pundit Anton Gerashchenko, who also served as former Ukrainian Advisor to Internal Affairs Minister, has said the following:

Vladimir Osechkin, founder of Gulagu. Net, says that, according to his sources, Navalny was killed (finished off with a blow to the chest) after being tortured with frost.

Head of Ukrainian military intelligence Kyrylo Budanov said that according to his sources, "it was a blood clot."

Over the weekend Navalny's mother, Lyudmila Navalnaya, said her son's body was finally released to the family. She has said Russian officials are seeking to pressure the family into doing a 'secret funeral' so as not to attract public demonstrations. "We do not know if the authorities will interfere to carry it out as the family wants and as Alexey deserves," she said previously.

Navalny's wife has laid ultimate blame on Putin for his death, while President Biden too and other Western leaders have said "Putin is responsible."

"What has happened to Navalny is yet more proof of Putin's brutality," Biden had said immediately after Navalny's death was announced by Russian prison services. Some European leaders quickly branded Putin's government a "rogue regime" as a result, urging that Moscow "must be held accountable". The whole situation seems akin to the Nord Stream pipeline sabotage, where there was a rush to blame Moscow, but allegation which were later quieted and walked back.

Meanwhile, Russia hawks in the US are urging the administration to go beyond last Friday's large round of new anti-Moscow sanctions...

Another stunning development and further plot twist has emerged via Bloomberg reporting on Monday. Navalny was supposedly very close to being released amid secret talks involving the US and Germany:

Alexey Navalny had been close to release in a prisoner exchange with the US and Germany shortly before his death in an Arctic prison, a top aide to the Russian opposition leader said.

"Navalny was supposed to be freed in the coming days," Maria Pevchikh said in a video statement posted Monday. Russian President Vladimir Putin was offered an assassin imprisoned in Germany in exchange for Navalny and two US citizens, she said.

Moscow has long been seeking to gain the freedom of Vadim Krasikov, who is currently serving a life sentence in Germany for the 2019 assassination of a former Chechen rebel in a Berlin park. Krasikov is widely believed to be part of Russia’s Federal Security Service, or FSB. Washington had reportedly previously rebuffed any prisoner swap deal involving Krasikov (related to talks in the context of the Brittney Griner and Viktor Bout swap).

Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, ex-Marine Paul Whelan, and schoolteacher Marc Fogel are all still in Russian custody. Two Americans were supposed to be part of this alleged impending Navalny swap. According to more from Bloomberg, citing a Navalny family spokesperson: 

Pevchikh didn’t name the two Americans involved in the deal. "Putin was clearly told that the only way to get Krasikov is to exchange him for Navalny," said Pevchikh. Instead, he decided to "get rid of the bargaining chip" and "offer someone else when the time comes."

Meanwhile, news of Navalny's funeral arrangements will likely emerge in the coming days. His family has hinted at their desire to see it happen in Moscow, which could spark anti-Kremlin protests.

As for the aforementioned blood clot narrative offered by Ukraine's military intelligence chief and possible context helping to explain why such a top level Kiev official would essentially "side" with the Kremlin on this, what's missed in the West is the fact that Navalny had always been a fairly hardline nationalist. From a Ukrainian perspective, he wasn't necessarily seen as an "ally" per se, even though he was anti-Putin. For more crucial context, see the below brief segment discussing Navalny's checkered past...

(Article by Tyler Durden republished from Zerohedge.com)

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