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U.S. blames Russian intelligence for attack on Nobel Prize winner Dmitry Muratov

By Rich Klein
U.S. blames Russian intelligence for attack on Nobel Prize winner Dmitry Muratov
Nobel Peace Prize winner Dmitry Muratov attends the Nobel Peace Prize Award Ceremony in Oslo in December. Earlier this month, he was attacked with a chemical while riding a train in Russia, and U.S. officials now say it was the work of Russian intelligence. Photo by Rune Hellestad/UPI | License Photo

April 29 (UPI) -- Russian intelligence was responsible for a chemical attack earlier this month on a prominent editor whose media outlet has criticized Russia's attack on Ukraine, U.S. officials said on Thursday.

"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," a U.S. official said in a statement, according to The Washington Post.

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Muratov, who shared the Nobel Peace Prize in 2021 with two other journalists, was attacked while traveling by train from Moscow to Samara. The attack left his eyes "burning terribly," according to a post he made on Telegram.

Following the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991, Muratov co-founded the independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta, which has advocated for democracy and freedom of expression in Russia.

RELATED Russian Nobel Prize-winning editor attacked with red paint on train

However, since Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the newspaper -- like many other media outlets based in Russia -- has come under increased threats and pressure by the Kremlin to stop reporting anything but the official messages put out by Putin's government about its "special operation."

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The newspaper continued to operate even after Putin signed a censorship law in early March that threatened up to 15 years in prison for those who publish what Russia called "fake" information about its armed forces.

In March, the media outlet suspended operations in Russia since it could not report freely. Its journalists fled the country and founded Novaya Gazeta, Europe, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.

This week, Moscow blocked Novaya Gazeta, Europe from being accessible in Russia, according to a Tweet by the newspaper on Thursday.

Upon accepting the Nobel Prize in 2021, Muratov said: "The powerful actively promote the idea of war. Aggressive marketing of war affects people and they start thinking that war is acceptable."

RELATED Journalists from Russia, Philippines win Nobel Peace Prize for upholding press freedoms

In 2015, the Novaya Gazeta faced closure after receiving its second warning by the government when it published words in literary texts that the government deemed offensive.

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