Putin opponent survives assassination attempt in France; The saw gun’s laser sight moves toward me

A well-known opponent of Russian President Vladimir Putin claims he survived an assassination attempt earlier this month by those with ties to Russian authorities and organized crime.

Exiled Russian human rights activist Vladimir Osechkin said he was working in the dark at his home in the southwest French coastal city of Biarritz on Sept. 12 when he was targeted, CBS News reported.

“I noticed a moving red dot on the railing of one of the terraces, which then moved towards me on the wall,” Osechkin, who was traveling with his wife and children at the time, told AFP by phone.

“We turned off the light, lay down on the floor, closed the shutters and called the police,” said the 41-year-old.

Police and neighbors heard gunshots, according to Osechkin, who runs the NGO Gulagu.net, which tracks corruption and prison abuse in Russia.

In a Monday interview with journalist Yulia Latynina, Osechkin identified the alleged would-be assassin as “a man with close ties” to Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) and “organized crime.”

He did not want to reveal whether the suspected shooter was arrested.

Osechkin attributed the alleged assassination attempt to retaliation by the FSB for its work collecting evidence of prisoner abuse and widespread recruitment of detainees for the Russian invasion of Ukraine, The Moscow Times reported.

Osechkin is said to have received information days ago that a “Russian criminal world boss” had arrived in France to kill people in the Biarritz area.

He credited Bulgarian investigative journalist Christo Grozev with informing him of the alleged assassin’s movements.

Grozev is the senior Russian investigator for Bellingcat, a Netherlands-based investigative journalism group that publishes detailed accounts of Russian agents using open-source information.

French authorities are now investigating threats against Osechkin following the alleged assassination, a source close to the investigation told AFP on Tuesday.

The investigation only involved threats and not attempted murder, said the source, who asked not to be named and declined to say whether shots had been fired during the incident.

Osechkin was placed under police protection after being informed of an assassination attempt against him in February, he said.

Russian officials have not commented on Osechkin’s allegations, according to The Moscow Times.

Russian President Vladimir Putin points a SVCh-308 Chukavin sniper rifle made by Russian arms manufacturer Kalashnikov Concern at the Patriot military theme park outside Moscow, Russia September 19, 2018. Sputnik/Alexei Nikolsky/Kremlin via REUTERS Reuters/SPUTNIK

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