The United States intelligence community believes the Russian government was behind a chemical attack on a prominent Kremlin critic and Nobel Peace Prize recipient in April, according to multiple reports in US media.
Dmitry Muratov, the editor of the investigative newspaper Novaya Gazeta, said that he was attacked while on a train from Moscow to Samara in April and splashed with red paint containing acetone.
He said the attacker told him “this is for you from our boys.”
Muratov at the time posted photographs of his face, chest and hands covered in red oil paint, which he said badly burned his eyes because of the acetone.
❗️Неизвестный напал на главреда «Новой газеты» и лауреата Нобелевской премии мира Дмитрия Муратова прямо в вагоне поезда pic.twitter.com/xrhR62zJts
— Новая газета. Европа (@novayagazeta_eu) April 7, 2022
On Thursday, a US official told reporters that Washington “can confirm that Russian intelligence orchestrated the April 7 attack on Novaya Gazeta’s editor-in-chief Dmitry Muratov, in which he was splashed with red paint containing acetone”, according to the Washington Post.
The official did not give any details on how the determination was made.
Muratov was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2021 for his work at Novaya Gazeta, which was known for its investigations into Russian corruption and human rights abuses. Six of its contributors have been killed since the 1990s.
During his acceptance speech, Muratov presciently warned of the potential for the war in Ukraine as Russia at the time continued its troop build-up at the border.
“In [the] heads of some crazy geopoliticians, a war between Russia and Ukraine is not something impossible any longer,” he said.
At the time, the Kremlin praised Muratov, calling him a “talented” and “brave” journalist.
In March, Muratov announced he would donate his Nobel Peace Prize medal to raise funds for Ukrainian refugees.
Shortly after, the newspaper announced that it was suspending its online and print activities until the end of what Russia calls its “special operation” in Ukraine.