Navalny accepts National Guard challenge to a verbal ‘duel’

MOSCOW (AP) — Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny says he accepts the “duel” proposed by the chief of the National Guard — if it’s is a televised debate with words as weapons.

In a video statement Thursday, Navalny responded to the challenge issued in August by Viktor Zolotov, whom Navalny accuses of profiting from shady deals in his agency. Zolotov is believed to be one of President Vladimir Putin’s closest allies and his outburst underlined the Kremlin’s frustration with Navalny’s adamant opposition.

Navalny said “I accept your call and choose the place and weapons, as proposed … our duel will take place in the form of a debate” on national television.

A national guard spokesman, Valery Gribakin, said he had not seen Navalny’s statement but said, regardless, the service was involved in more important matters.

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