The possible poisoning of the Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich and Ukrainian negotiators
brings to mind similar events of Russian opponents or characters considered uncomfortable by Moscowfrom Alexei Navalny to Alexander Litvinenko and former Ukrainian president Viktor Yushchenko.
– 20 August 2020: opponent Alexei Navalny loses consciousness on a plane during a flight from Tomsk to Moscow. The plane makes an emergency stop in Omsk, where Navalny is hospitalized in a coma. Under pressure from France and Germany, Navalny was transported to Berlin on 22 August to the Charitè hospital, where his life was saved. He is found a poisoning with the nerve agent novichok. Once recovered, in January 2021, Navalny returned to Russia where he was immediately arrested.He recently received a new sentence of nine years in prison.
– March 4, 2018: former Russian military intelligence agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia they are found lying on a bench in the British city of Salisbury. It will later be discovered that they have been poisoned with a nerve agent, novichok. Both recovered after a long ICU hospitalization, as did a British policeman who was contaminated.
– 2017: Russian journalist Vladimir Kara Murza, 35, of the dissident movement Open Russia, comes hospitalized in intensive care in Moscow on February 2 and placed in a state of pharmacological coma. The symptoms are similar to the sudden kidney failure that hit the dissident in 2015 and which he then attributed to poisoning. On the 19th he is transferred to a hospital abroad, after being diagnosed with intoxication due to an unknown substance. Kara Murza now lives abroad. In Russia he was close to Boris Nemtsov, former vice premier at the time of Boris Yeltsin who later became one of the main critics of President Vladimir Putin, assassinated in Moscow on February 27, 2015.
– 2006: former Russian FSB intelligence agent, Alexander Litvinenko fled to London in 2000 after accusing his superiors of ordering the assassination of oligarch Boris Berezovsky. From Great Britain he had pointed the finger at the Kremlin leader Vladimir Putin for the murder of the journalist Anna Politkovskaya. On November 1, 2006, Litvinenko suddenly fell ill and was hospitalized. He dies on November 23 of what is recognized as polonium poisoning. The radioactive substance was allegedly placed in his cup of tea by two Russians during a meeting in a London hotel. British investigators have accused an FSB agent, Andrey Lugovoi, whose extradition Moscow has refused in an affair that has caused strong diplomatic tensions between the two countries.
– 2004: then candidate in the Ukrainian presidential elections, Opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko is hospitalized in Austria in September 2004 after being the victim of a mysterious dioxin poisoning, a substance that had probably been poured into his soup. Saved from death, but with a disfigured face, Yushechenko challenges the Russian pro Viktor Yanukovych to the presidential ballot on November 23, 2004. The latter wins, but the allegations of fraud and the street protests of the ‘orange revolution’ lead to a repeat of the ballot that gives victory to Yushchenko. Subsequently Yushchenko will claim that he was poisoned by three men who were with him at dinner, then refugees in Russia. One of them was the former number two of the Ukrainian services, Volodymyr Satsyuk, who later received Russian citizenship.
– 1978: Georgi Markov was a writer who escaped from Todor Zhikov’s Bulgarian Communist regime in 1969. Settling in London, he worked as a journalist for the BBC, the American-funded broadcaster Radio Free Europe and the German radio Deutsche Welle. Famous for his sarcastic attacks on the Bulgarian regime, he was hit with an umbrella tip in the leg while waiting for the bus on 7 September 1978, his birthday. He died on the 11th, after being hospitalized with a high fever. The autopsy revealed a micro capsule containing ricin, a powerful poison, which had been injected through a pneumatic device through the tip of an umbrella. The Bulgarian intelligence services were suspected of the murder, perhaps with the help of the Russian KGB.
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