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Fmr. Putin navy commander assassinated on street

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during his address to the nation at the Kremlin in Moscow on Feb. 21, 2022. (ALEXEY NIKOLSKY/Sputnik/AFP via Getty Images/TNS)
July 11, 2023

In a chilling turn of events reminiscent of Cold War-style cloak and dagger tactics, former Russian submarine commander Stanislav Rzhitsky was gunned down during an early Monday morning run in the Russian city of Krasnodar.

According to the New York Post, Russian authorities believe that Rzhitsky’s killer used the popular Strava fitness app to track the ex-captain’s jogging routes, leveraging the power of digital tools to a fatal end.

The 42-year-old Rzhitsky, was murdered near Krasnodar’s Olympus Arena shortly after dawn. The assassin shot him four times using a Makarov pistol. Rzhitsky succumbed to his wounds at the scene.

Rzhitsky’s assassination comes amidst heightened tensions between Russia and Ukraine, with some Russian authorities pointing the finger at Ukraine, speculating that this could be a revenge attack.

The Defense Intelligence of Ukraine explained the current difficulty in identifying Rzhitsky’s assasin, stating, “The park was deserted due to heavy rain, so no witnesses could provide details or identify the gunman.”

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Rzhitsky was previously suspected of commanding a submarine that launched a missile strike on the Ukrainian city of Vinnytsia, which killed 27 civilians. However, the command had already been transferred to Captain Anatoly Varochkin at the time of the attack.

Ukraine’s Main Directorate of Intelligence, while acknowledging Rzhitsky’s demise, firmly denies any involvement in the murder.

“We know that the roots of what happened yesterday in the Russian Federation must be sought within Russia itself, where internal protest against the war in Ukraine is growing,” insisted the agency’s chief, Kyrylo Budanov.

As investigators from the Russian Investigative Committee commence a murder probe, the lines are blurring between digital privacy and national security, showcasing a dangerous precedent where a fitness app could become an instrument of international espionage.

This news article was partially created with the assistance of artificial intelligence and edited and fact-checked by a human editor.