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Chair Cardin Statement on the Attack on Leonid Volkov

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued a statement following the news that Alexei Navalny’s Chief of Staff, Leonid Volkov, was attacked in Lithuania.

“Less than a week after we hosted Leonid Volkov in Washington, he was brutally attacked by armed thugs near his home. Volkov’s brave response following this attack – calling on Russia’s opposition to continue their work in the face of adversity – should inspire us all to redouble our efforts to stand with Russians supporting democracy and opposed to Vladimir Putin’s unprovoked war in Ukraine. It is surely no coincidence that this attack comes less than a month after Alexei Navalny’s death in a Russian prison, and just days ahead of Putin’s so-called presidential ‘elections.’

“As we continue to celebrate Navalny’s legacy, we must also continue to stand with those unjustly imprisoned in Russia, including Vladimir Kara-Murza, Ilya Yashin, Andrei Pivovarov, and Oleg Orlov, and American citizens Paul Whelan, Evan Gershkovich, and Alsu Kurmasheva.

“I thank the Lithuanian government for offering protection to so many fleeing Putin’s repression in Russia, escaping Putin’s bombs in Ukraine, and standing up to the Lukashenka regime in Belarus. This act of transnational repression on Lithuanian soil, a vital member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the European Union, must be fully investigated, and I call on the Biden Administration to support our Lithuanian ally in this effort and to pursue accountability.”