On Monday, CNN reported how Alexey Navalny, the main Russian opposition leader against Vladimir Putin, tricked a Kremlin spy into revealing how the lethal nerve agent Novichok was secretly planted in his underpants.
"The stunning disclosure from an agent who belonged to an elite toxins team in Russia's FSB security service came in a lengthy phone call following the unmasking of the unit by CNN and the online investigative outfit Bellingcat last week," reported Tim Lister, Clarissa Ward, and Sebastian Shukla.
"In what he was told was a debriefing, Konstantin Kudryavtsev also talked about others involved in the poisoning in the Siberian city of Tomsk, and how he was sent to clean things up. But the agent was not speaking to an official in Russia's National Security Council as he thought. He was talking to Navalny himself, who almost died after being poisoned in August."
According to the report, the poison was applied to the seams of his underpants by an assassin who infiltrated Navalny's hotel room in Tomsk. The poison would have been dissolved and absorbed through his skin in response to his sweat.
Navalny was taken ill on a flight from Tomsk to Moscow, and passengers captured video of him screaming in pain. He would almost certainly have died had the pilot not made an emergency landing and an antidote been administered immediately.
"The Bellingcat-CNN investigation found that the FSB toxins team of about six to 10 agents trailed Navalny for more than three years. After identifying most of the team, CNN and Bellingcat tried to contact them and their superiors," said the report. "One man, Oleg Tayakin, slammed the door shut when questioned by CNN. Others did not respond."
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