Alexei Navalny was ‘meant to be part of a Cold War-style prisoner swap’ before his death in hellhole jail, sources claim

Alexei Navalny was ‘meant to be part of a Cold War-style prisoner swap’ before his death in hellhole jail, sources claim

ALEXEI Navalny was meant to be freed to the West in a Cold War-style prisoner swap before he died behind bars, sources claim.

Secret talks were reportedly underway about freeing Vladimir Putin‘s most formidable opponent in exchange for a Russian killer jailed in Germany.

ReutersRussian opposition leader Alexei Navalny died while in jail on Friday afternoon[/caption]

Navalny appears via video link from the IK-2 corrective penal colony in Pokrov during an appeal against his prison sentence in May 2022Reuters

APSupporters pay their last respect to Navalny with a poster that reads: ‘Alexei Navalny killed by the fascist regime’[/caption]

The terms of the alleged swap deal were not agreed before Navalny, 47, died in Polar Wolf jail on Friday, reports Telegram channel Bild.

It was today revealed that Navalny’s body was discovered covered in bruises and is being guarded by cops in a hospital morgue.

Paramedics who saw the Russian lawyer’s body said the marks could indicate he was “murdered” under Putin’s regime.

An official autopsy is yet to be performed.

According to Bild’s sources, Russia, Germany, and the US were discussing swapping Navalny for FSB hitman Vadim Krasikov, 59.

Bild columnist Philip Pyatov wrote: “According to BILD information, such negotiations actually took place.

“Moscow, Washington and Berlin took part in them. Vladimir Putin wanted to get the Russian agent Vadim Krasikov, who is in prison in Germany.

“It was discussed that in exchange Putin would release Navalny. Alexei Navalny was about to be released.”

The report has not been independently verified.

If true, some say it raises the possibility that members of the Russian hierarchy may have disagreed with the swap and had Navalny killed.

Others have raised doubts that Putin would agree to free Navalny, who could have undermined the Kremlin from abroad.

Killer Krasikov, who Bild’s sources alleged may have been freed in exchange for Navalny, was convicted in December 2021 for the 2019 murder of Georgian Chechen man Zelimkhan Khangoshvili in Berlin.

Reports indicated Krasikov is being prepared for deportation.

Speculation is now growing that he may be exchanged as part of a complex Cold War-style swap involving jailed US citizen and Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, 33, who was arrested last year on espionage charges.

Russia yesterday said Navalny died of “sudden death syndrome”, according to his family and lawyer.

A document given to Navalny’s mother Lyudmila Navalnaya indicated he died at 2.17pm local time on Friday, February 16.

Navalny’s heartbroken wife Yulia Navalnaya today shared a post in tribute to her late husband, her first since his death.

She wrote on Instagram: “I love you.”

The caption was paired with a touching image of the pair standing side by side, Yulia looking ahead as Navalny looked towards his wife and kissed her head.

Yulia Navalnaya wrote on Instagram today, in her first social media post since Navalny’s death: ‘I love you’

APAn art school teacher pays tribute to Navalny by painting a portrait of him in Mumbai, India[/caption]

AP:Associated PressThe late Navalny, right, embraces his wife Yulia as he is released in a Russian courtroom on July 19, 2013[/caption]

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