MOSCOW, June 12. /TASS/. The question about the death of Mikhail Lesin, Russia’s former media, television and mass communications minister, should be forwarded to the United States, but not Russia, since Lesin died in Washington, Russian President Vladimir Putin said in an interview with NBC News.
An excerpt from the interview was aired by Russia’s Channel One in Russian.
"He died, he perished, he died in the United States," Putin said adding that he was unaware whether Lesin had died or had been killed.
The Russian president added that that question should be redirected to the United States, when commenting on the NBC host mentioning the Lesin case among the deaths of other Russian dignitaries throughout years.
Putin said he "liked him [Lesin] very much."
"I regret to this day that he is not with us. In my opinion, he is a very decent, a very good person," the Russian president said.
Besides Lesin, the interviewer mentioned journalist Anna Politkovskaya, former FSB officer Alexander Litvinenko, lawyer Sergei Magnitsky and politician Boris Nemtsov.
"You’ve mentioned many individuals who indeed suffered and perished at different points in time for various reasons, at the hands of different individuals," Putin said in response, noting that "this looks like some kind of indigestion except that it’s verbal indigestion."
Lesin, 57, was found dead at the Dupont Circle Hotel in Washington, D.C on November 6, 2015. In October 2016, after an investigation the US Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia released a statement on Lesin’s death, determining his manner of death an accident. BuzzFeed claimed that the former minister had been killed, but the US authorities dismissed that speculation.
NBC News will broadcast the full interview on Monday, June 14.