Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a conversation with French President Emmanuel Macron that Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny could have taken the poison Novichok himself, reported the French newspaper Le Monde, citing two sources.
According to the newspaper, in his conversation with Macron, Putin spoke of Navalny contemptuously and called the oppositionist "a simple troublemaker on the Internet." The Russian president also said that Navalny allegedly used his Anti-Corruption Fund to "blackmail MPs and officials" and committed illegal acts.
Le Monde writes that Putin admitted the possibility that Navalny took the poison himself, because, as Putin believes, the nerve agent is not very difficult to manufacture. The Russian President said that the investigation into the poisoning has not yet begun, as Germany and France have not provided the results of Navalny’s tests to Russia.
According to Le Monde, Macron rejected Putin's version of the oppositionist's attempt to poison himself.
Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny became ill on August 20 on board the plane flying from Tomsk to Moscow. The airliner made an emergency landing in Omsk, where Navalny was hospitalized. On August 22, at the request of Navalny's relatives, he was taken to the Charite hospital in Berlin for treatment. The politician was in an induced coma for 19 days.
At the request of the hospital, experts of the special laboratory of the German armed forces conducted a toxicological analysis of samples taken from Navalny and found in them traces of the combat nerve agent from the Novichok group. The German government stressed that there is no doubt about conclusions of the Bundeswehr specialists. Moscow denies all accusations of involvement in the assassination attempt on the Russian opposition leader