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McCain Expresses Concern For Kremlin Critic's Life

U.S. Senator John McCain (file photo)
U.S. Senator John McCain (file photo)

A senior U.S. legislator has voiced concern for the life of Kremlin critic Vladimir Kara-Murza, Jr., who fell critically ill last week in Moscow for the second time in two years.

John McCain, a senior Republican senator from Arizona and a regular critic of Russia, told the U.S. Senate on February 7 that Kara-Murza had suffered "another apparent poisoning" because "he kept faith with his ideals in confrontation with a cruel and dangerous autocracy."

Kara-Murza's wife, Yevgenia, told RFE/RL on February 6 that doctors have diagnosed him with "acute poisoning by an undetermined substance" after being hospitalized on February 2 with kidney failure.

Kara-Murza, 35, was placed in an intensive-care unit and put on life support after being placed in a medically-induced coma.

McCain said that, although Kara-Murza is very ill, "I am encouraged to learn his condition is now stable."

Kremlin critic Vladimir Kara-Murza (file photo)
Kremlin critic Vladimir Kara-Murza (file photo)

Kara-Murza's symptoms closely resemble those he suffered in May 2015, when he abruptly fell ill in Moscow and was hospitalized in critical condition.

He said he believed his 2015 illness was the result of deliberate poisoning with a sophisticated toxin and that he was targeted for his political activities.

McCain said that "it appears that Vladimir has once again paid the price for his gallantry and integrity, for placing the interests of the Russian people before his own self-interest."

The U.S. senator said that, following the violent deaths of several critics of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Kara-Murza "knew that Putin is a killer, and that he might very well be the next target."

But, although "knowing that his life was at risk, Vladimir returned to Russia," McCain added.

Kara-Murza is a coordinator for former tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky's nongovernmental organization, Open Russia, and has advocated for sanctions against Russian officials and media executives before U.S. lawmakers.

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