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Russian Newspaper Calls On Authorities To Investigate 'Chemical Attack'

A security guard at the entrance to Novaya gazeta's building in Moscow on March 15
A security guard at the entrance to Novaya gazeta's building in Moscow on March 15

The independent Russian investigative newspaper Novaya gazeta has called on Moscow authorities to investigate a "chemical attack" against its premises after a security camera recorded a person spraying its office entrance with an unknown liquid.

The media outlet, which shares the premises with several other companies in the Russian capital, demanded the investigation on March 16, a day after a strong chemical odor swept through the building.

Late on March 15, a video allegedly taken by a CCTV camera at the building circulated on the Internet showing a man in a Yandex.Food delivery uniform spraying an unknown liquid near the building’s entrance from a device on the back wheel of the bike he was riding.

"Look, it is now a device for terrorist acts -- a false courier sprays a poisonous gas that is in a container installed on a bicycle. The idea is clear: the employees step in the poison and then distribute it to all of the floors in the building," Novaya gazeta said in a statement.

A spokeswoman at Yandex.Food told the website Mediazona that the company did not receive any orders from the address where Novaya gazeta is located.

Novaya gazeta's staff members have said the odor in the building was very similar to one that was present when the home and car of correspondent Yulia Latynina was sprinkled with an unknown chemical in 2017.

That same year the newspaper received a letter with an unknown white powder inside, which later was shown to be harmless.

In October 2018, unknown people brought three cages with sheep wearing vests with the inscription PRESS on them. Several days before that, unknown individuals threw a funeral wreath in front of the periodical’s building with notes threatening Denis Korotkov, a correspondent for the newspaper. Days later a sheep's head was found near the office with a note threatening all reporters at Novaya gazeta.

Six Novaya gazeta journalists, including well-known reporters Yury Shchekochikhin, Anna Politkovskaya, and Anastasia Baburova, have been killed since 2001.

With reporting by Mediazona

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