Putin confirms idea of prisoner exchange

Russian President Putin described the death of Kremlin opponent Navalny as a "sad incident" and confirmed the idea of a prisoner exchange for the first time.

Navalny’s confidant Volkov called the comments “cynical.”

After his victory in the presidential election, Russian leader Vladimir Putin described the death of opposition leader Alexei Navalny as a “sad incident” and confirmed the idea of a prisoner exchange.

The protests during the election, which the opposition called for, had “no impact” on the election, Putin said that night at his campaign headquarters. However, the authorities would “deal with” those “who destroyed their ballot papers.”

Vladimir Putin: Navalny’s death a “sad incident”

“As for Mr. Navalny. Yes, he died. This is a sad incident,” Putin said at a news conference broadcast by state television. Putin publicly called his opponent by name for the first time in years.

Putin also said he was ready for a prisoner exchange shortly before Navalny’s death. A few days before Navalny’s death, some colleagues told him that there was an idea to swap Navalny for some people who are in prison in Western countries. “I said: ‘I agree,'” Putin said.

Putin’s statement “cynical”

Navalny’s long-time confidant Leonid Volkov called Putin’s statement a month after the death of the Kremlin opponent “cynical.” Putin actually killed his opponent so that he wouldn’t have to be replaced.

Navalny died in a prison camp in mid-February under unclear circumstances. Russian authorities have not yet officially announced the cause of the politician’s death at the age of 47. Many Western politicians blamed President Putin personally, which the Kremlin angrily rejected.

According to the first partial results from the State Election Commission, Putin emerged as the clear winner of the presidential election with around 87 percent and is therefore facing another six-year term at the helm of Russia.

Putin’s victory in the three-day election was considered a foregone conclusion from the start. All of the Kremlin leader’s best-known critics are either dead, imprisoned or in exile.

Numerous arrests during protests during the election

Despite threats from the authorities with harsh punishments, there were individual protests on the sidelines of the election; according to the civil rights organization OWD-Info, at least 80 people were arrested.

Authorities reported arrests for “vandalism.” Accordingly, people poured green dye into ballot boxes at polling stations, and voters also set off Molotov cocktails or fireworks when casting their votes.

Navalny’s widow, Yulia Navalnaya, had called on Putin opponents to flock to the polling stations at noon as a sign of protest and to vote for Putin’s opponent or to invalidate ballot papers with the inscription “Nawalny”.

Navalnaya herself cast her vote at the Russian embassy in Berlin, where supporters greeted her with flowers and applause.

Navalny’s body in hospital


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