Have Putin's poisoners struck again, this time in Moscow?

Political poisoning has been a trademark of Russia's security services, the Federal Security Service (FSB), Russian Military Intelligence (GRU), and their predecessors for many years.

During the rein of Vladimir Putin, who though a set of amendments to Russian legislation known as 153-FZ in 2006, took personal responsibility for issuing orders to "eliminate extremists", that is critics of his regime, we have seen some high profile cases, particularly in the UK. Alexander Litvinenko, a British citizen, was poisoned by 2 FSB officers 2006, both of who are wanted on charges of murder by the UK police. More recently, former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, were poisoned by a team of GRU operatives in Salisbury, England.

Although Putin denied Russian involvement in the Skripal incident, the means of the attempted murders was deliberately chosen to convey the message to western governments that he can send his assassins into any country he chooses to kill as he himself sees fit.

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Now it appears that he may have struck much closer to home - Moscow, in fact.

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, currently in jail for calling for unauthorised protests, which yesterday saw 1,200 opposition demonstrators arrested, was hospitalised after suffering an acute allergic reaction on Sunday, according to a spokeswoman.

Kira Yarmysh, Navalny's spokeswoman, wrote on Twitter that Navalny had been hospitalised on Sunday morning with "severe swelling of the face and skin redness."

She said the cause of Navalny's allergic reaction was unknown and that he had never had suffered from such reactions in the past. 

This brings to mind the attempted murder by poisoning of then Presidential candidate Viktor Yushenko in Ukraine in 2004. Again, this seems to be a blatant and unequivocal message to anybody who opposes Putin - "oppose me and I can kill you".

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Gary Cartwright

Gary Cartwright

Gary Cartwright is publishing editor of EU Today.

An experienced journalist and published author, he specialises in environment, energy, and defence.

He also has more than 10 years experience of working as a staff member in the EU institutions, working with political groups and MEPs in various policy areas.

Gary's latest book WANTED MAN: THE STORY OF MUKHTAR ABLYAZOV: A Manual for Criminals on How to Avoid Punishment in the EU is currently available from Amazon


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