Seth Abramson @SethAbramson @Newsweek columnist. Analyses @BBC. NYT bestselling author of Proof of Conspiracy ( Next: Citizen Journalist (Macmillan). Professor. Attorney. Sep. 12, 2019 1 min read

You can't assassinate a man whose location you don't know, and Putin straight up assassinates his enemies—crimes Trump infamously refused to critique—so news of the Kremlin filing this Interpol request suggests intent to violate U.S. sovereignty with an assassination on our soil.

1/ Smolenkov was brought here because he provided a service to our country against a hostile foreign power. One can certainly understand—from the Kremlin's viewpoint—the desire to arrest Smolenkov as a traitor. The problem is that Putin has no history of just arresting traitors.

2/ Putin has assassinated supposedly traitorous Russians on UK soil. And it certainly doesn't seem, in the Smolenkov case, that Russia is just trying to extradite Smolenkov via conventional channels and diplomacy. So Americans have reason to fear Putin plans a crime on our soil.

3/ I wish the man's name had never been published; I've no idea why it was. Now that it has been, it seems the only way to keep him safe is a) make him famous, b) in making him famous, communicate to Putin that if he harms him it'll be taken as unilateral violence against the US.

You can follow @SethAbramson.


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