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Russia’s Navalny Calls Putin ‘Liar’ Over Remarks After Biden Summit

Jailed Russian opposition politician Aleksei Navalny, responding to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s accusations against him following a June 16 summit with U.S. President Joe Biden, has called the Russian leader “a liar who can’t stop lying.”

Putin told reporters after the summit in Geneva that Navalny had deliberately ignored requirements to report to the Russian judiciary in August 2020 when he was airlifted to Germany in a coma after he was poisoned with a Soviet-style nerve agent in Siberia.

Navalny wrote on Instagram on June 17 that Putin must have “a psychiatric pathology caused by being in power for a long time, having limitless amounts of money.”

Putin “lies constantly. All the time, indeed. Simply does not utter a word of truth. Even when he knows that his lies will be immediately revealed. Even when his recent lies contradict his new lies,” Navalny wrote, calling on Russians to take part in September parliamentary elections to make it possible to defeat candidates of the ruling United Russia party using the “smart voting” system created by his team.

Navalny’s close associate Leonid Volkov told CNN on June 17 that Putin’s answer on the Navalny question the previous day could only have come from someone with a mental disorder.

On June 16, Volkov, who is currently in the United States, told NPR radio that as long as the world follows Navalny’s case, the stakes are too high for Putin to let the opposition leader die, and that the United States should keep up the pressure on the Kremlin with more targeted sanctions.

Putin’s remarks about Navalny deliberately leaving Russia to avoid reporting to the Federal Penitentiary Service (FSIN), a requirement under his suspended sentence in a case Navalny and his supporters say was politically motivated, sparked outrage from the opposition.

“Uh, what? He deliberately flew abroad for treatment to avoid checks with his parole officer?” Navalny’s spokeswoman Kira Yarmysh wrote on Twitter, attaching a photo of Navalny being transported in a coma aboard a plane.

Another Navalny associate, Maria Pevchikh, also posted a photo of Navalny in a capsule on a medical bed being transported in a coma to Berlin last year.

“I clearly remember how Navalny in a coma was lying in a medical capsule with biohazard marks, and ‘deliberately’ ignored reporting to the FSIN’s inspection,” Pevchikh wrote.

Navalny’s wife, Yulia Navalnaya, also posted a photo on Instagram of Navalny’s transportation to Germany in August. She remarked that she had kept the photo as a reminder of how her husband had “consciously” flouted Russian laws.

Navalny was arrested on January 17 upon his return to Russia from Germany, where he received life-saving treatment for the poisoning.

The Kremlin’s most vocal critic has insisted that the attack, with a Soviet-style chemical nerve agent, was ordered directly by Putin. The Federal Security Service (FSB) and the Kremlin have denied any role in the poisoning.

In February, a Moscow court ruled that while in Germany, Navalny had violated the terms of parole from an old embezzlement case. His 3 1/2-year suspended sentence was converted to a jail term, though the court said he will serve just over 2 1/2 years in prison given time already served in detention.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on June 17, when asked by a Ekho Moskvy correspondent if Navalny would be eligible for a prisoner exchange with the United States, that this would probably only be possible if the he was a U.S. citizen and worked for the CIA.

With reporting by dpa, NPR, Interfax, CNN, and TASS

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