An ally of the Russian dissident Alexei Navalny has been charged after knocking on the door of an FSB agent accused of poisoning him.
Lyubov Sobol, 33, could face up to two years in jail for her attempts to ‘lure’ Konstantin Kudryavtsev out of his Moscow flat.
Ms Sobol works as a lawyer at Navalny’s anti-corruption foundation and the pair are often pictured at protests together.
She was one of a group of people who went to the home of Mr Kudryavtsev after his part in an alleged attempt to kill Mr Navalny was exposed this week.
Ms Sobol was being held in custody last night.
Navalny, 44, was poisoned with the Soviet-era nerve agent Novichok – which is claimed to have been sprinkled in his underwear after the dissident tricked one of his own assassins into a confession.
Lyubov Sobol, 33, (pictured) could face up to two years in jail for her attempts to ‘lure’ Konstantin Kudryavtsev out of his Moscow flat
The Kremlin, which denies involvement in the poisoning, has hit back against allegations of an FSB poison plot with sanctions against EU officials.
On Monday, Navalny claimed he had duped an alleged FSB plotter into admitting that his underpants had been sprinkled with the nerve agent.
Konstantin Kudryavtsev was one of a team of alleged chemical weapons experts named last week as suspects in Navalny’s poisoning.
Ms Sobol was detained after police raided her home yesterday morning.
Investigators said she had tried to enter the flat of an elderly woman and eventually got in after speaking to a delivery man, reports The Times.
She was one of a group of people who went to the home of Mr Kudryavtsev (pictured) after his part in an alleged attempt to kill Mr Navalny was exposed this week
The publication reports that she walked into all the rooms in the house and was videoing what she found on her phone.
Ms Sobol said in an internet livestream on December 21 that she ‘managed to get into the neighbouring apartment to Mr Kudryavtsev’s with a pizza delivery person’.
Mr Navalny then said in a blog that the female neighbour was Mr Kudryavtsev’s mother-in-law.
He added that Ms Sobol spent ‘many hours’ ringing the doorbell outside the apartment in at attempt to ‘lure’ Mr Kudryavtsev out in order to ask him questions.
In the blog post Mr Navalny then wrote: ‘You call at the door of a murderer and they come and break down your own door and take you for questioning.’
It is claimed that Mr Kudryavtsev, 40, was involved in the clean-up operation after the poisoning and was responsible for decontaminating Mr Navalny’s clothes.
Mr Navalny’s body temperature dropped to 33.5C (92.5F), his heart slowed to 33 beats per minute and he fell into a coma after being poisoned with Novichok, according to a medical report.
Medics at the Charité hospital in Germany, where the Russian opposition leader was treated after falling ill on a flight in August, described how he became confused and sweaty before vomiting and collapsing, leaving him unconscious and drooling when the plane made an emergency landing.
It is thought that Mr Kudryavtsev, 40, was involved in the clean-up operation after the poisoning, responsible for decontaminating Mr Navalny’s (pictured) clothes
By the time he arrived at the Berlin hospital, more than two days after falling ill, his heart had slowed well below an adult’s usual range of 60 to 100 beats per minute and his brain was starting to show signs of reduced responsiveness.
Navalny has been a thorn in the Kremlin’s side for more than a decade, exposing what he says is high-level corruption and mobilising protests.
He has been repeatedly detained for organising public meetings, sued over corruption investigations and barred from running in the 2018 presidential election.
The 44-year-old has also served several stints in jail in recent years for organising anti-Kremlin protests.
The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that Russia’s arrests and detention of Navalny in 2012 and 2014 were politically motivated.
The Kremlin said Putin ‘underlined the impropriety of unfounded accusations against the Russian side’ and reiterated Russia’s demand for Germany to hand over samples.