US intelligence believes Putin did not directly order Navalny’s death, according to WSJ sources

It is unlikely that the Russian president ordered the killing of the imprisoned opposition figure, the sources told the outlet.

The CIA and other US intelligence agencies have determined that the Russian authorities were not involved in the death of opposition figure Alexey Navalny, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.
Navalny, who had been serving a lengthy prison sentence stemming from violations of the terms of a previous fraud conviction and his “extremist activities,” died at a penal colony in Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Region in northern Russia on February 16.
The Russian prison authorities insist that there was no foul play in the passing of the anti-corruption activist. They said that the 47-year-old suddenly fell ill after a walk and collapsed, and that efforts to resuscitate him were in vain. According to the Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK), which Navalny used to head, the death certificate provided to his mother stated he had died of natural causes.

Now, however, the US intelligence agencies have come to the conclusion that Putin “likely didn’t order Navalny to be killed,” the WSJ said in an article on Saturday.
This assessment is based on a range of data such as classified intelligence and the analysis of public facts, including “the timing of his death and how it overshadowed Putin’s re-election,” the sources explained. Navalny died a month before the Russian presidential election, in which Putin won 87.28% of the ballot.
The finding is broadly accepted by several agencies, including the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the State Department’s intelligence unit, the article read.
The sources clarified that the assessment by the US intelligence “doesn’t dispute Putin’s culpability for Navalny’s death, but rather finds he probably didn’t order it at that moment.”

Kremlin Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov said that he saw the article in the Wall Street Journal, but stressed that he “would not call it a high-quality piece that deserves any attention.” The publication contained “some empty reflections” and was apparently planned as “a Saturday reading for a global audience,” he stressed.