A critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin who is currently in exile in France claimed that there was an attempt on his life on Monday, Sept. 12, and that he narrowly avoided death after noticing a red laser dot traveling towards him. 

Vladimir Osechkin, a 41-year-old human rights activist well-known for his critique of Putin’s administration, was reportedly in the city of Biarritz with his family preparing for dinner when he saw a red dot on a wall from the corner of his eye, according to the New York Post

“I remember: I’m carrying plates to my kids in the living room, and in my peripheral vision, on one of the terraces, I see a red dot moving through the terrace railing along the wall towards me,” he said during an interview. “We turned off the light, lay down on the floor, closed the shutters and called the police.”

Osechkin and his family went to one of the secure rooms of the home and called the French police following the incident. He claims that the police and his neighbors also heard shots ringing out towards his home, CBS News reported. 

“I wasn’t hit, but there were shots — the scope was moving towards me.”

The activist, who is famously known for posting videos on his website that shows the torture and rape happening in Russian prisons, said that he was warned by Christo Grozev and the Norwegian investigative journalism group Bellingcat that a “Russian criminal world boss” who had close ties with Russia’s Federal Security Service was headed to Biarritz. 

Since the beginning of the Russia-Ukraine war, many high-profile deaths of Putin allies and enemies and their families have occurred under mysterious circumstances, with many accusing the Kremlin of coordinating the killings. Osechkin credits a higher power that he and his family were able to keep themselves safe from the attacks. 

“I’m not a religious person … but I believe in the goodness and the light,” he said. “Everything happened by the grace of God, beginning with Christo Grozev’s [tip].”

Osechkin has been recently covering some of the atrocities in the Russia-Ukraine war, including reporting on the alleged efforts by the Russian government and the “paramilitary organization” Wagner group to recruit prisoners to fight in the war. 

thomas-tucker-2q3RH6grop4-unsplash Human rights activist and Putin critic Vladimir Osechkin survived an alleged attempt on his life on Monday after he noticed the assassin's laser's red dot while preparing dinner for his family. This is a representational image. Thomas Tucker/Unsplash.