Russian naval officer killed near home may have been tracked on Strava app

Stanislav Rzhitsky, a former Russian submarine captain who was shot dead while jogging in the Russian city of Krasnodar on Monday, may have been tracked by an assassin using his public profile on the fitness app Strava.

Rzhitsky was shot several times by an unidentified assailant, according to state-owned news agency TASS, which described him as “a captain of the 2nd rank and commander of the Krasnodar submarine.”

The Krasnodar, named after the city, is a Kilo class Russian attack submarine capable of firing the Kalibr cruise missiles that Russia’s armed forces have used against civilians and civilian infrastructure during the war in Ukraine.

Unusually, Rzhitsky’s death was also announced by the GUR, Ukraine’s military intelligence service, which described the submariner as being involved in the Kalibr missile strikes.

GUR’s message included details that were not mentioned in the official police statement, writing: “Around six in the morning, seven shots were fired at him from a Makarov pistol. As a result of gunshot wounds, Rzhitsky died on the spot.”

The agency said that “due to heavy rain, the park was deserted, so there are no witnesses who could provide details or identify the attacker.”

Baza, an online independent Russian publication, reported that Rzhitsky maintained a public account on Strava that regularly showed him taking the same route on his morning runs — something that may have allowed an assassin to track him.

The fitness-tracking “social network for athletes” app has repeatedly raised concerns among security experts because it allows people to share their running routes and provides aggregate heat map data on popular running routes, which have reportedly been used to identify secret military bases.

On its Telegram channel, Baza also reported that police had circulated a still of a suspect caught on CCTV cameras. The suspect was described as a man in his 30s or 40s with a medium build, wearing a black T-shirt and a blue cap. The man’s face is not visible.

In what CNN described as a “perhaps even sarcastic” statement, a spokesperson for Ukraine’s armed forces stated: “Obviously, he [Rzhitsky] was eliminated by his own men for refusing to continue to carry out combat orders from his command regarding missile attacks on peaceful Ukrainian cities.”

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