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A Russian citizen suspected of attacking and wounding four staff members with a knife at a grocery store in Vilnius told a Lithuanian court on Tuesday he fears persecution in Russia.
Russian-citizen store attacker tells he fears persecution in Russia
© DELFI / Kiril Čachovskij

He voiced his concerns to Vilnius City District Court during a hearing on his arrest.

"The court satisfied the prosecutor's request and sanctioned his arrest for three months," Rimante Kraulise, spokeswoman for the court, told BNS Lithuania.

Prosecutor Tomas Cepelionis told journalists that the man told the court he fears persecution by the Russian government and possibly police. He mentioned President Vladimir Putin and generals.

"He's having difficulty expressing his opinion. I would say he's not completely adequate. We will need psychiatric assessment," he said.

The Russian citizen was about to be deported from Lithuania after failing to leave voluntarily. His wife was also about to leave the country shortly. The family has two minor children. The whole family was about to be sent out from Lithuania.

"We will make every effort for the wife not to leave as the pre-trial investigation has only been recently started," the prosecutor told journalists.

According to Cepelionis, the suspect claims to have been suffering from depression for the past four years, saying that he took a triple doze of his medicine after learning of deportation. The Russian citizen claims not having memory of the incident at the store, he only remembers the moment he was detained by police.

During a search at his home on Monday, police also found home-made explosives. The prosecutor said the search was carried out as part of an investigation into a fire at the IKEA store in Vilnius.

The Russian citizen is suspected of injuring four people with a knife during an attempted robbery at the store in Jonazoliu Street, in the capital's Lazdyneliai neighborhood, on Sunday night.

Officers are also looking into whether the mane is not linked to an arson at the IKEA store also on Sunday night.

Officials will also look into whether the same Russian citizen may be involved in an arson attack on Vilnius' IKEA store at around 9 p.m. on Sunday.

BNS
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