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Ex-Mi-6 officer: Navalny could have been killed behind Putin's back

Ex-Mi-6 officer: Navalny could have been killed behind Putin's back Photo: Aleksei Navalny (Getty Images)

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was killed in prison. The murder could have been orchestrated behind the back of Russian dictator Vladimir Putin, according to the former MI6 officer Chris Steele.

"I don't have definite information on that, but obviously, I sometimes think of the parallel case of Nelson Mandela when he was imprisoned on Robben Island, and the South African authorities, while holding him in prison and they won't let him out or whatever, realizing that in the longer term, Mandela would be a potential leader of the country who could unify the country, and therefore, he shouldn't be out, dropping the regime, but not should he be tortured or killed because he was an insurance policy in a sense politicly, which turned out to be the right policy actually in South Africa. But I think that in Russia it was not that case; I think he was killed," Steele said.

The former British intelligence officer noted that he doesn't know who could be behind Navalny's killing.

"I mean, the problem with Russia, as you know, is that, although Putin is in charge, everyone's afraid of him, they also are doing all sorts of things behind his back, including killing each other, damaging each other, and discrediting each other, which was going on for years," the former officer said.

Steele pointed out numerous cases of Russian oil executives' deaths.

"There was five in Lukoil along last two years. That doesn't suggest a stable leadership," he added.

Navalny's death

In February 2024, Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny died in a Russian prison, where he had been since 2021 when he returned to Russia.

Russia claims that Navalny's cause of death was a thrombus. The EU and NATO imposed sanctions against Russia following the opposition leader's death.

Some Western media outlets speculated that Russian dictator Vladimir Putin was involved in Navalny's death. However, The Wall Street Journal recently reported, citing American intelligence services, that Putin may not have given the order for Navalny's killing, though this does not absolve him of responsibility.