US Intelligence Agencies Say Putin Didn’t Order Navalny’s Death

Ukrainian military intelligence previously said the Russian opposition figure died of a blood clot

The Wall Street Journal reported on Saturday that US intelligence agencies believe Russian President Vladimir Putin likely did not order the killing of opposition figure Alexei Navalny, who died earlier this year while serving a 19-year sentence at a penal colony in Siberia.

In the aftermath of Navalny’s death, President Biden pinned the blame on Putin and imposed new sanctions on Russia. “We don’t know exactly what happened, but there is no doubt that the death of Navalny was the consequence of something that Putin and his thugs did,” Biden said.

The Journal report said that the idea that Putin likely didn’t order Navalny’s death is “broadly accepted within the intelligence community” and is the view of the CIA, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, and the State Department’s intelligence wing.

The cause of Navalny’s death is unclear. Russian intelligence officials have said he died of “natural” causes at 47 years old. Kyrylo Budanov, the head of Ukraine’s CIA-backed military intelligence agency, said Navalny died of a blood clot.

Last month, Putin said that he had been willing to exchange Navalny for Russians who are detained abroad under the condition that he couldn’t return to Russia. According to the Journal, President Biden and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz had discussed the idea just a week before Navalny died.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.