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Russia Blamed For Attack On Navalny Ally In Lithuania

Lithuanian intelligence and Volkov's associates suspect Russia orchestrated the assault, potentially to stifle opposition voices before Russia's upcoming presidential election.
Navalny-aide-Leonid-Volkov

Leonid Volkov, a key figure in former Russian dissident Alexei Navalny’s movement, was brutally attacked outside his home in Vilnius, Lithuania, on Tuesday. Lithuanian authorities and Volkov’s associates believe Russia orchestrated the assault.

Navalny, a prominent critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin critic, died in prison last month under suspicious circumstances. His death sparked international condemnation and accusations of murder by his allies and Western nations like the US, which the Kremlin denies.

Volkov, who lives outside Russia for safety, faces several legal charges back home, and the attack highlights the risks faced by Russian opposition figures both within and outside the country.

Describing the assault on social media, Navalny’s spokesperson Kira Yarmysh said Volkov was sprayed with tear gas and beaten with a hammer. Images shared online showed Volkov with facial injuries and a smashed leg. Ivan Zhdanov, head of Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK), claimed the attack aimed to silence dissent ahead of Russia’s upcoming presidential election 15–17 March.

Lithuania’s intelligence agency issued a statement Wednesday, declaring the attack on Volkov “likely an operation organized and implemented by Russia.” The agency believes the goal was to disrupt Russian opposition activities connected to the election.

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Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda condemned the attack, calling it “planned” and linking it to recent desecrations of Lithuanian flags. He vowed to find the perpetrators and sent a direct message to President Putin: “Nobody is afraid of you here.”

The assault occurred just days before Russia’s widely criticized presidential election, where Vladimir Putin is expected to secure a fifth term. Volkov, who previously led FBK, has dismissed the election as a sham intended to portray overwhelming public support for Putin

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