Ally of late Russian opposition chief Alexey Navalny attacked in Lithuania

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Associates of the late Russian opposition chief Alexey Navalny reported Tuesday evening that the politician’s shut ally and prime strategist, Leonid Volkov, was attacked close to his residence in Lithuania’s capital.

Navalny’s spokesman Kira Yarmysh said in a social media publish that an assailant smashed a window of Volkov’s automobile, sprayed tear fuel into his eyes and began hitting him with a hammer. Police and an ambulance have been on the best way, Yarmysh mentioned.

Lithuanian police spokesperson Ramunas Matonis confirmed to Agence France-Presse {that a} Russian citizen was assaulted close to his residence within the capital Vilnius at round 10 p.m. native time.

“Lots of police are working on the scene,” Matonis advised AFP.

No suspect has not been recognized and extra particulars in regards to the assault are anticipated on Wednesday morning, Matonis added.

Matonis confirmed that the sufferer was admitted to a hospital.

Leonid Volkov
Leonid Volkov, the chief political strategist of the late Russian chief Alexei Navalny, throughout a go to to the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, in 2021. Jean-Francois Badias / AP

The assault occurred almost a month after Navalny’s unexplained demise in a distant Arctic penal colony. Navalny, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s fiercest critic, was serving a 19-year jail time period there on the costs of extremism extensively seen as politically motivated.

Navalny, an anti-corruption campaigner and Russia’s best-known opposition politician, had been jailed since January 2021, when he returned to Moscow to face sure arrest after recuperating in Germany from nerve agent poisoning he blamed on the Kremlin. His Basis for Combating Corruption and a community of regional places of work have been designated as “extremist organizations” by the Russian authorities that very same yr.

His demise, reported by penitentiary officers on Feb. 16, despatched shockwaves across the globe, with opposition figures and Western leaders laying the blame on the Kremlin —one thing officers in Moscow vehemently rejected.

The politician’s funeral in Moscow on March 1 drew 1000’s of supporters, a uncommon present of defiance in Putin’s Russia amid a ruthless crackdown on dissent. These keen to pay tribute to Navalny, 47, saved streaming to his grave in southeastern Moscow for days after the ceremony. Navalny’s widow Yulia has vowed to proceed her late husband’s work.

Volkov was in command of Navalny’s regional places of work and election campaigns; Navalny ran for mayor of Moscow in 2013 and sought to problem Putin within the 2018 presidential election. Volkov left Russia a number of years in the past underneath strain from the authorities.

Final yr, Volkov and his staff launched a mission known as Navalny’s Campaigning Machine, with the objective of speaking to as many Russians as potential, both by cellphone or on-line, and turning them towards Putin forward of the March 15-17 presidential election.

Not lengthy earlier than his demise, Navalny had urged supporters to flock to the polls at midday earlier than the ultimate day of voting to exhibit their discontent with the Kremlin. His allies have been actively selling the technique, dubbed “Midday In opposition to Putin,” in current weeks.

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