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Russia Arrests Bellingcat’s Grozev In Absentia

Bellingcat investigative journalist Christo Grozev. Hannah McKay / Reuters

A Moscow court on Friday ordered the arrest of Christo Grozev, a top investigative journalist with open-source group Bellingcat, independent news outlet Mediazona reported

Grozev, who is not in Russia and looks set to be tried in absentia, was accused of illegally crossing the Russian border, according to Mediazona. 

The Friday court hearing was held behind closed doors and Grozev’s lawyer Veronika Polyakova refused to reveal any details about the case.

It was not immediately clear when — or why — Grozev was supposed to have illegally crossed the Russian border.  

Grozev has long been a thorn in the Kremlin's side, having played key roles in a number of Bellingcat’s most explosive investigations, including that into the 2018 poisoning of Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the British city of Salisbury, and the 2020 poisoning of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny on a domestic flight in Siberia.

Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) last year claimed that Grozev had been involved in a "foiled plot" to hijack Russian fighter jets.

Grozev, a Bulgarian national, was placed on Russia’s Interior Ministry’s wanted list in December last year.  

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