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Assault on Navalny's ex-right-hand man: the Russia targeted

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Leonid Volkov, the former right-hand man of the Russian opponent who died in prison Alexeï Navalny .

Agence France-Presse

The attack suffered on Tuesday in Vilnius by Leonid Volkov, the former right-hand man of the Russian opponent who died in prison Alexeï Navalny, was probably “organized by Russia”, the authorities said on Wednesday. Lithuanian intelligence services.

It is likely that the attack on Mr. Volkov, who lives in exile in the Lithuanian capital, was an organized and implemented operation by Russia, according to an official press release.

Attacked with a hammer in front of his home, Mr. Volkov, aged 43, had to be briefly hospitalized.

Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda, for his part, explained to the Lithuanian press in Paris that the competent services would investigate and, I hope, find the culprits . As for Putin, I can only say one thing: no one is afraid of you here.

Mr. Nauseda, who met his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron the day before, participated in a strategic forum in the French capital on Wednesday.

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Lithuanian police for its part confirmed having opened an investigation into the attack on Mr. Volkov, described as shocking by the government.

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The deputy head of the police officer Saulius Tamulevicius said investigators were looking into different leads, without giving further details.

We are taking all necessary measures to elucidate the motive and causes of this crime. Several avenues are being investigated, he told LRT radio.

No suspect has, for the moment, been identified.

The attack comes nearly a month after Mr. Navalny died on February 16 at the age of 47 in an Arctic penal colony where he was serving a 19-year sentence. prison for extremism.

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Alexei Navalny.

Leonid Volkov, one of the main figures of the Russian opposition, blamed President Vladimir Putin for his death.

His attack also occurred a few days before the presidential election which should extend the mandate of the head of the Kremlin.

Mr. Volkov claimed on Telegram that he was hit in the leg 15 times during the attack on Tuesday evening.

Someone broke a car window and sprayed tear gas in his eyes before hitting him with a hammer, Kira Iarmich, Mr. Navalny's ex-spokesperson, testified earlier .

Mr Volkov's wife, Anna Biryukova, posted photos on social media showing her husband's injuries, including one black eye, a red mark on his forehead and blood on his leg.

A government source told AFP that Mr. Volkov was released early Wednesday from the hospital where bruises were noted on various parts of his body as well as a fracture of a bone in his hand.

More serious injuries were avoided, said this source.

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