After Russian threats of Assassination, Christo Grozev seeks Safety in North America
After Austrian authorities warned that Russian-hired assassins were actively looking for him with the help of local agents, Bulgarian Bellingcat journalist Christo Grozev flew to North America for security reasons, the Financial Times reported, citing Grozev himself. It is not specified where exactly he will settle.
"A few days ago I got a message from a journalist friend of mine. Transit... I just landed in Dublin. I felt a wave of relief," he wrote, explaining that he was flying from Austria to North America.
"Under normal circumstances, this transatlantic journey of Christo Grozev would have gone unnoticed. Because the Bulgarian-born Grozev works for the investigative website Bellingcat, he often crisscrosses the globe for research purposes. But these are not normal times. Over the past year, Grozev and his colleagues have repeatedly uncovered dark events in Ukraine and Russia using a digital intelligence technique called open-source intelligence analysis (Osint). This prompted Vladimir Putin's regime to include Grozev, a 53-year-old computer maniac with a sharp sense of humor, on the list of the most wanted," commented the publication.
Grozev explains that Russian assassins are pursuing him in Vienna, where he has lived for more than 20 years, with the help of local collaborators. The Austrian authorities were of the opinion that he was not safe there.
"My personal data was made available to a now former employee of the Austrian security service at the behest of Russian intelligence," he continues.
The Financial Times commented that the story of the Bulgarian was a small part of a large-scale fear-mongering operation after Russia's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, but it spoke of the "extraordinary courage shown by some journalists in their quest to uncover the truth about Russia's brutal war as in Ukraine (where many reporters have been killed), as well as in Russia itself and in its wider orbit (where opposition figures have been jailed, silenced or expelled)".
European governments are trying to counter this by expelling Russian diplomats.
Christo Grozev participated in the investigation of the attempted assassination of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, who is currently serving a prison sentence. Also in the investigation into the poisoning of former Russian agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury. These and other journalistic materials earned him the declaration of an “undesirable” in Russia.
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