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Navalny’s Death Clouds Prospects of Russian Hitman Vadim Krasikov’s Return from Germany

Vadim Krasikov, a Russian assassin serving a life sentence in a German prison, faces prolonged confinement as Germany no longer seems interested in a potential prisoner exchange with the Kremlin following Alexei Navalny’s demise.

Navalny’s supporters, advocates for the Russian opposition, suggest he was on the verge of release from incarceration before his untimely death on February 16 while detained in an Arctic penal facility.

They accused President Vladimir Putin of having his most vociferous critic killed to torpedo the exchange.

Germany too, like other Western countries, has said the Russian President is responsible for the death of Navalny.

Germany’s interest has waned.

A report by Financial Times quoted people familiar with the matter said during “discussions” in recent weeks, it was decided for Russia to release Evan Gershkovich (a Wall Street Journal reporter), Navalny, and US veteran Paul Whelan in return for Krasikov.
But, after the death of Navalny, people said, Germany’s interest in a deal has waned.

No one ‘worth swapping’

The report cited a US official saying Berlin “no longer have anyone in mind they feel it would be worth swapping a state-sponsored murderer for. They don’t have a poster child they’re looking to get out.”

The US and Germany were having early conversations about a possible prisoner swap for Navalny when he died, but the US did not make a formal offer, a Western official was quoted as saying.

Maria Pevchikh, board chair of Navalny’s foundation, in a video posted on YouTube, on Monday, said she had “received confirmation that negotiations were at the final stage” on an exchange the day before Russia’s prison service announced the activist’s death.

She further said Putin “had been offered” a swap of Navalny and two US citizens for Krasikov at the beginning of February. Roman Abramovich, the former Chelsea FC owner who has been an important intermediary negotiating prisoner exchanges during the war in Ukraine, passed on the proposal, Pevchikh added.

Putin was clearly told that the only way to get Krasikov is to exchange him for Navalny. ‘Hold on,’ thought Putin. ‘I can’t tolerate Navalny being free. And since they are willing to exchange Krasikov on principle, then I just need to get rid of the bargaining chip and offer someone else when the time comes’,” Pevchikh said.

“Putin’s Controversial Remarks on Russian Hitman Vadim Krasikov: Patriotism or State Terrorism?”

Russian hitman Vadim Krasikov is a Russian national who garnered attention after being sentenced to life in prison three years ago by a German court. His conviction stemmed from the murder of Zelimkhan Khangoshvili, a Georgian citizen of Chechen ethnicity, in Berlin’s Tiergarten Park in 2019.

During the sentencing, the judge implicated Krasikov as having “acted on the orders of the Russian central government” and accused Moscow of engaging in “state terrorism”.

In a recent interview with conservative commentator Tucker Carlson, Putin controversially referred to Krasikov as a “patriot” and seemed to tacitly acknowledge the Kremlin’s involvement in orchestrating the hit. Additionally, Putin hinted at efforts by Russia’s “special services” to secure Krasikov’s release.

Navalny’s Lawyer, Vasily Dubkov, Arrested Following Assistance in Retrieving Putin Critic’s Body

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