Attack on Volkov is first case of political terrorism in Lithuania – official

Attack on Volkov is first case of political terrorism in Lithuania – official

The attack on Leonid Volkov, former chief of staff of Alexei Navalny, in Vilnius, is the first case of political terrorism in Lithuania, Vilmantas Vitkauskas, head of the National Crisis Management Centre, has said.

“This is the first time that such an incident has happened in our country, such a case of political aggression, political terrorism on our soil,” Vitkauskas told LRT RADIO on Thursday.

According to him, it is still too early to say who was behind the attack.

“One thing is clear – the longer the investigation goes on, the clearer it becomes that the operation itself was professional, well-planned and whoever carried it out was either well-prepared or received very good instructions,” Vitkauskais said.

“Based on all the information we have, it seems to be a well-planned and professional operation,” he added.

According to the head of the NKVC, discussions are underway on stronger protection for Russian and Belarusian opposition representatives living in Lithuania.

“Yesterday, we had a meeting with the representatives of the security services on how we could prevent similar incidents from happening. Certain mechanisms are now being put in place,” Vitkauskas said.

The authorities have increased their level of vigilance following the attack on Volkov, he added.

“New algorithms are activated when we see a threat. Political events in Russia are coming up, which mobilises us even more,” Vitkauskas said.

On Friday, presidential elections start in Russia. A protest by the Russian opposition is scheduled for noon on Sunday in front of the Russian Embassy in Vilnius. According to Vitkauskas, the services were preparing for possible provocations.

“Russia may try to use such gatherings for certain provocations, and we are preparing for such scenarios,” he said. “We would urge people who are planning to take part in such events to be very vigilant and avoid any incidents. If there is any danger, we will warn in advance.”

Leonid Volkov was attacked with a hammer outside his house in Vilnius on Tuesday evening. He is undergoing outpatient treatment after receiving medical assistance. A pre-trial investigation into minor bodily harm has been opened.

The State Security Department said on Wednesday that the attack was likely organised and implemented by Russia “in connection with the forthcoming undemocratic Russian presidential elections”.

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