Lithuania safe: – The Kremlin is behind the attack on Navalny aides


After the brutal hammer attack on Russian opposition figure Leonid Volkov in front of his home in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius, the government there is convinced that the attack was carefully planned. “This is a clear, criminal ‘hello’ from Putin,” the wounded man said.

“No one here is afraid of you,” Lithuanian head of state Gitanas Nauseda told his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin. Volkov was combative: “We will keep working and not give up. It’s hard, but we can do it… It’s good to know I’m still alive.”

Volkov was attacked with a hammer and tear gas on Tuesday, according to a former spokeswoman for Navalny. He suffered a broken arm, a bruised forehead and a leg injury. Volkov revealed that he had been hit on the leg with a hammer about fifteen times. After a night in the hospital, he was able to go home on Wednesday morning. Just a few hours before the attack, Volkov said in an interview with the Reuters news agency that the leading representatives of the Navalny movement in exile should fear for their lives. ‘You know that Putin doesn’t just kill people in Russia. He also kills people outside Russia. We live in very dark times.”

Moscow is quiet…
There was initially no comment from Moscow. Volkov, who like many of Navalny’s allies lives in exile, has repeatedly antagonized Russian authorities as he organized anti-Kremlin protests from Vilnius. He had also repeatedly called for Navalny’s release while he was still alive. The UN human rights expert in charge of Russia, Mariana Kazarova, said on Monday that Moscow is responsible for Navalny’s death on February 16. He was killed in prison or died because of the torture-like conditions in prison. However, Russian authorities have cited “natural causes” for Navalny’s death.

Lithuania’s counterintelligence agency said the attack on Volkov was likely aimed at preventing the Russian opposition from interfering in Russia’s presidential election. This is scheduled from Friday to Sunday. Putin’s re-election is considered a foregone conclusion.

Police investigating with “enormous resources”
Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis was shocked by the incident. The perpetrators must be held accountable, he demanded. Lithuanian police have opened an investigation. That night, police officers, including an elite counter-terrorism unit, investigated the crime scene on the northern outskirts of Vilnius. The suspects have not yet been identified, a police spokesperson said.

According to police chief Renatas Pozela, the police are devoting “enormous resources” to the case. He stressed that the attack does not mean that Lithuania is no longer safe. “This is a unique event that we will resolve successfully.” The population does not have to be afraid.

Lithuania is a member of the European Union and NATO. The Baltic country with its 2.8 million inhabitants borders Russia’s Kaliningrad Oblast and Russia’s ally Belarus. Many Russian and Belarusian opposition figures live in exile in Lithuania.

Source: Krone


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