US says Russian intelligence was behind attack against a Nobel Prize winner, according to report

Business Insider US
Novaya Gazeta newspaper editor-in-chief Dmitry Muratov talks to the media. Sergei Bobylev/TASS via Reuters
Novaya Gazeta newspaper editor-in-chief Dmitry Muratov talks to the media. Sergei Bobylev/TASS via Reuters
  • A Nobel laureate was assaulted with acetone-laced paint while on a train in Russia earlier this month.
  • A US official told The Washington Post that the US concluded that Russian intelligence was behind the attack.
  • Dmitry Muratov, editor of Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta, has been publicly critical of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
  • For more stories go

The US government says an attack on a prominent Moscow critic and Nobel Prize winner was orchestrated by Russian intelligence, The Washington Post reported on Thursday.

Earlier this month, Dmitry Muratov, the editor-in-chief of independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta, was attacked with acetone-laced red paint while on a train in Russia, burning his eyes.

"They poured oil paint with acetone in the compartment. My eyes burned terribly. Moscow-Samara train," Muratov, 60, said in a statement posted on Telegram on April 7, according to CNN. "Oily smell all over the car. Departure has already been delayed by 30 minutes. I'll try to wash off."

Muratov added: "(The attacker) shouted: 'Muratov, here's to you for our boys,'" referring to Russian soldiers fighting in Ukraine.

An unnamed US official told The Post that the government concluded that Russian intelligence was behind the attack on Muratov.

"The United States can confirm that Russian intelligence orchestrated the 7 April attack on Novaya Gazeta's editor in chief Dmitry Muratov, in which he was splashed with red paint containing acetone," the official said.

Representatives from the White House, the Russian Embassy in the US, and Novaya Gazeta did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

In February, Novaya Gazeta published a three-word headline on their front page following the unprovoked invasion of Ukraine: "Russia. Bombs. Ukraine."

A month later, the newspaper announced that the newspaper would halt operations until the end of the war after receiving a second warning from Russian communications regulators enforcing Russian President Vladimir Putin's censorship law established in early March.

However, following the April 7 attack on Muratov, the newspaper broke its silence to publish an investigation into the incident on April 12. The newspaper identified the Nobel laureate's suspected assailant as 41-year-old Russian nationalist Nikolai Trifonov, citing a photo taken by Muratov of the man before he escaped the scene, according to their investigation.

The Russian newspaper also reported that another man was arrested on April 8 in connection with the incident, who filmed the attack.

A video of the attack on Muratov was posted on a pro-Russian military channel on Telegram called "Union Z of paratroopers," according to Novaya Gazeta, with part of the caption in the post reading: "We will come for each of you, just wait!!!"

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