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Home / News / Exiled Navalny ally blames Putin over hammer attack

Exiled Navalny ally blames Putin over hammer attack

The top aide to late Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has blamed the Kremlin after he was an assaulted with a hammer and tear gas outside his home in Lithuania.

In a post on Telegram, Leonid Volkov said he had returned to his home in Vilnius this morning after a night in hospital, suffering from a broken arm and injuries from about 15 hammer blows to the leg.

“This is an obvious, typical criminal ‘hello’ from [Vladimir] Putin, from criminal Petersburg”, he wrote.

“We will keep on working and we will not surrender”, Mr Volkov added. “It hard but we’ll handle it… It’s good to know I’m still alive.”

There was no immediate comment from Russia on the incident.

Earlier, former Navalny spokesperson Kira Yarmysh posted images of Volkov with a bruise on his forehead, blood coming from a leg wound, and a vehicle with damage to the driver’s door and window.

“Volkov has just been attacked outside his house. Someone broke a car window and sprayed tear gas in his eyes, after which the attacker started hitting Leonid with a hammer,” she wrote on X.

Lithuanian Foreign Affairs Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis called the incident shocking and said the perpetrators must “answer for their crime”.

The Lithuanian state security service said the attack was most likely organised and executed by Russia, while Lithuania’s police commissioner Renatas Pozela said police were devoting “huge resources” to investigate the assault.

Police cordon off the area where the attack occurred

He insisted that the attack did not mean that the European Union and NATO country of 2.8 million people, which borders Russia and Belarus and has become a base for Russian and Belarusian opposition figures, was no longer safe.

“This is a one-time event which we will successfully solve… Our people should not be afraid because of this”, said Mr Pozela.

Alexei Navalny died last month in an arctic penal colony

The US Ambassador to Lithuania, Kara McDonald, said X that she was “shocked” by the news of the attack on Mr Volkov.

“His resilience and courage in the face of recent attempts to silence and intimidate him are inspiring.

The Navalny team remains an outspoken voice against Kremlin repression and brutality”, she said.

Mr Navalny, President Putin’s most prominent critic, died last month in an arctic prison. Russian authorities say he died of natural causes; his followers believe he was killed by the authorities, which the Kremlin denies.

In an interview with Reuters hours before last night’s assault, Mr Volkov said leaders of Navalny’s movement in exile believed they were at risk.

“They know that Putin not only kills people inside Russia, he also kills people outside of Russia”, he said.

“We live in very dark times”.

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