Navalny ally accuses ‘Putin’s henchmen’ of carrying out attack

A close ally of the late Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny accused Moscow of directing a brutal attack at his home in Lithuania that left him hospitalized.

Leonid Volkov, a top aide to Navalny at his Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK), posted a video to Telegram with his arm in a cast and held up by a sling. He vowed to carry on with the group’s anti-corruption mission.

“We will work, we will not give up,” Volkov said in the video, according to a translation provided by The Associated Press.

“It was a characteristic bandit greeting from Putin’s henchmen,” he added of the attack.

The FBK said when Volkov arrived at his home in Vilnius, where he lives in exile, he was confronted by an assailant in his front yard. The assailant broke Volkov’s car window and sprayed tear gas in his eyes “before beating him repeatedly with a hammer,” the FBK said.

Volkov was hospitalized but has since returned home after being treated. He has a broken arm, and “for now he cannot walk because of the severe bruising from the hammer blows,” according to the organization.

The FBK posted photos from the attack, including of the broken car window, bruising around Volkov’s eyes, a bloody leg, and a photo of Volkov on a stretcher being loaded into an ambulance.

“FBK will not be stopped by such threats. We understand that they exist. That no matter what security measures are taken, the amount of resources against us is still incomparably greater. But there are more of us. There are more honest people. Someone will always come to take our place,” FBK Director Ivan Zhdanov, citing Volkov’s message, wrote in a post on X, formerly Twitter.

“It is obvious that after the murder of Navalny, they will now completely take on those who left the Russian Federation. Here you don’t even need a separate order from the Kremlin: different groups of bandits around Putin will try to curry favor with him and show who is cooler,” he added.

Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda spoke to reporters after the attack, the AP reported, and placed blame on Putin.

“I can only say one thing to Putin —nobody is afraid of you here,” Nausėda said.

Lithuanian foreign minister Gabrielius Landsbergis wrote on X that the attack was “shocking,” adding, “Relevant authorities are at work. Perpetrators will have to answer for their crime.”

“Putin’s empty threats are simply his expressions of panic every time we get close to a breakthrough. His words shouldn’t scare us. He himself is scared that everyone will one day see the Emperor wears no clothes and has no intention of doing the things he warns us about,” he wrote in a subsequent post.

The Kremlin has vehemently denied accusations of involvement in the attack, the AP reported.

The attack comes about a month after Navalny died in Russia’s highest-security penal colony at the age of 47. Russian officials denied involvement in the death, but news of the death sparked global outrage and western leaders quickly placed blame on Russia for Navalny’s death.

Close allies of Navalny, including his wife, Yulia Navalnaya, have taken up the mantle and have pledged to keep fighting for Navalny’s goal of a free Russia.

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