Lithuania: investigation after the attack on Leonid Volkov, former right-hand man of Alexeï Navalny

Violently attacked with a hammer in front of his home in Vilnius, Leonid Volkov, aged 43, was briefly hospitalized after this attack described as “shocking” by the government. “A criminal investigation has been opened,” police said in a statement released Wednesday.

No suspects identified

Deputy police chief Saulius Tamulevicius said investigators were looking into different leads, without giving further details. “We are taking all necessary measures to elucidate the motives and causes of this crime. Several avenues are being studied,” he told LRT radio. No suspect has yet been identified.

This attack comes almost a month after the death of Alexeï Navalny, on February 16 at the age of 47, in a penal colony in the Arctic where he was serving a 19-year prison sentence for “extremism”. One of the main figures of the Russian opposition, Leonid Volkov, who was one of Alexei Navalny’s lieutenants, blamed the latter’s death on President Vladimir Putin. His attack also occurred a few days before the elections which should extend the mandate of the head of the Kremlin.

Hit 15 times

Leonid 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 Yarmysh, former spokesperson for Alexeï Navalny, testified earlier.

Leonid Volkov’s wife, Anna Biryukova, posted photos of her husband’s injuries on social media, including a black eye, a red mark on his forehead and blood on his leg.

A government source told AFP that Leonid Volkov was released early Wednesday from the hospital where “contusions 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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