A Bulgarian investigative journalist Christo Grozev has been put on Russia’s ‘wanted’ list for unspecified reasons.

According to information issued by the Russian Interior Ministry, Grozev, who is part of a Netherland-based journalism group called Bellingcat, is “wanted under an article of the Criminal Code.” However, the ministry hasn’t specified the article.

Independent human rights monitor named OVD-Info claims that Grozev has been charged with disseminating “fake news” about the Russian army.

Furthermore, on its website, the Interior Minister has only mentioned Grozev’s birthplace, date of birth and nationality.

Shortly after the ministry made the announcement, Grozev took to Twitter to comment on the development. He said, “I have no idea on what grounds the Kremlin has put me on its “wanted list”, thus I cannot provide any comments at this time. In a way it doesn’t matter — for years they’ve made it clear they are scared of our work and would stop at nothing to make it go away.”

According to media reports, soon after Russia invaded Ukraine its government promulgated a law that criminalised the dissemination of what it defines as “deliberately false information” about the Russian armed forces. The maximum penalty under the law is 15 years in jail.

What has Christo Grozev worked on?

The Bulgarian journalist has been covering Russia’s involvement in high-profile international crimes.

Some such cases include the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in Eastern Ukraine in 2014, the poisoning of Russian military intelligence officer Sergei Skripal in UK as well as the poisoning of opposition leader Alexey Navalny in 2020.

According to Bellingcat’s official website, Grozev specialises in “security threats, extra-terrestrial clandestine operations and the weaponization of information.”

More recently, Russia’s Federal Security Service claimed that Grozev was involved in a plot to hijack Russian fighter jets. However, the journalist in July denied such claims and accused Russia’s domestic intelligence of fabricating evidence to support its claims.

With inputs from agencies

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