Speed Reads


Putin critic Navalny reportedly tricks Russian agent into revealing how he was poisoned

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has reportedly uncovered details of his own poisoning by successfully duping a Russian agent into revealing them.

Navalny, a leading critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, is recovering after being poisoned in August. On Monday, CNN reported that an agent from the toxins team at Russia's FSB security service made the "stunning disclosure" that Navalny was poisoned through a nerve agent planted in his underwear.

The way the revelation came about was just as stunning: evidently in a 45-minute phone call in which the agent, who was tasked with trailing Navalny, thought he was speaking with an official from Russia's National Security Council — but in reality, he was speaking with none other than Navalny himself. Navalny disguised his phone number so it looked like that of Russia's FSB headquarters to dupe the agent, Konstantin Kudryavtsev, who ultimately "talked about others involved in the poisoning in the Siberian city of Tomsk, and how he was sent to clean things up," CNN reports. Bellingcat also reported on details from the phone call.

"Every once in a while, you come across a story, John [Berman], that really leaves your jaw wide open," CNN's Clarissa Ward said on CNN Monday morning. "And this is one of them."

Ward added, "Boy, does this conversation punch a giant hole in the Kremlin's narrative, which has always been to say that, 'Well, while the FSB might have been trailing Navlany, that does not prove that they poisoned him.' Well, this certainly would appear to prove it." Read more from Navalny's call at CNN. Brendan Morrow