Russian opposition presidential candidate 'doused with water and assaulted'

Russian opposition presidential candidate 'doused with water and assaulted'

Russian presidential candidate Ksenia Sobchak's campaign office says she was doused with water and knocked to the ground in an assault today.

The incident came several days after Ms Sobchak threw water on nationalist presidential candidate Vladimir Zhirinovsky during a televised debate.

According to a statement on Ms Sobchak's campaign website, the man who threw water on her at the entrance of a Moscow hotel said: "This is for Zhirinovsky."

The statement said the man was detained by police and identified him as a staff member of the Moscow city council.

Ms Sobchak, who rose to fame hosting a TV reality show, casts herself as the candidate for Russians fed up with current politics but has largely avoided personal criticism of President Vladimir Putin.

Mr Zhirinovsky, the 71-year-old leader of the ultranationalist Liberal Democratic Party, has won notoriety for his xenophobic statements. This will be the sixth time he has run for president.

Eight candidates are registered for Russia's March 18 presidential election, including Mr Putin.

With his approval ratings topping 80% and rivals trailing far behind, Mr Putin is set to easily win a fourth term. Mr Putin's most vocal critic, the 41-year-old opposition leader Alexei Navalny, has been barred from the race due to a criminal conviction that he calls politically motivated.

- AP

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