Creator of Russia’s Sputnik Covid vaccine strangled to death with belt in Moscow apartment in latest mystery murder

ONE of the creators of Russia’s Covid vaccine has been found brutally strangled to death in his Moscow apartment, in the latest mystery murder surrounding the country’s elite.

Andrey Botikov, a top Russian scientist who developed the Sputnik V vaccine, was reportedly murdered with a belt during an altercation with an intruder in his home.

Leading Russian scientist Andrey Botikov has been found murdered
His body was discovered strangled at his home in Moscow

His body was found at his home in Moscow on Thursday, Russian media reported.

The Investigative Committee of Russia (ICR) has now opened a murder investigation into the death.

A 29-year-old man has been arrested and charged with killing the leading virologist during a row over money.

In a statement, the ICR didn’t name Botikov, but said investigators had identified and located a suspect “in the shortest possible time”.

The ICR went on: “During the interrogation, he admitted his guilt, he was charged.

“Previously, the defendant was prosecuted for committing a serious crime.”

Botikov had worked as a virologist at the Gamaleya National Research Center since 2014, helping create Russia’s Sputnik V Covid vaccine.

Putin‘s scientists hailed the vaccine as having a 91 percent efficacy during clinical trials, far higher than other Covid vaccines.

Botikov’s death is the latest mystery fate to befall a member of Russia’s leading scientific and political elite since the start of the war in Ukraine.

Last month, a former Putin spy and an ally of Vlad were found dead hours apart in separate incidents in Russia.

The body of Vyacheslav Rovneiko, 59, who founded Russian energy giant Urals Energy with the son-in-law of Putin’s predecessor Boris Yeltsin, was discovered at his house outside of Moscow late at night.

Hours later, it was announced that a former politician in Putin’s United Russia party on trial for bribery had died in custody.

Andrei Bralnin, an elected official in the town of Kotlas in Russia’s Arkhangelsk region, was awaiting trial for allegedly taking bribes.

Also in February, a top Russian general was found shot dead, just a month after he was sacked by Vladimir Putin.

Major General Vladimir Makarov, 72, was found dead at his home near Moscow from an alleged suicide following his axing from his job combating “extremism” for Russia’s Interior Ministry.