Top Russian scientist who created Sputnik V Covid vaccine 'is strangled to death with a belt in his Moscow apartment in a row with intruder'

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Russia's investigative committee has launched a murder investigation after a top scientist was found dead in his Moscow apartment yesterday.

Andrey Botikov, known as one of the 18 scientists who worked on the Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine in 2020, was identified as the man who had been strangled to death with a belt in northwest Moscow.

It was previously reported he had survived the encounter after an intruder broke into his home and started rowing with him over money.

The Investigative Committee of Russia said they found the suspect in 'the shortest possible time' after he tried to flee the scene.

They claim he confessed to the crime during an interrogation.

The committee also reported the defendant had already been prosecuted for committing another 'serious' crime.

Russian media reported that the suspect, known as Alexei Z, had spent ten years in prison on charges of providing sex services. 

Andrey Botikov was a senior National Research Center for Epidemiology and Microbiology researcher.

He worked as a senior scientist at the Russian State Collection of Viruses D.I. Ivanovsky Institute of Virology.

He was awarded an Order of Merit for the Fatherland for his work on the Sputnik V vaccine.

Mysterious deaths of high ranking Russians

Andrey Botikov's death occurred a little more than two weeks after the passing of Major General Vladimir Makarov, a senior military officer in Russia, who, according to state investigators, died by suicide after being discharged from his position.

The Russian Embassy in Paris verified that Vyacheslav Taran, the billionaire founder of Forex Club, passed away in a helicopter crash near his residence in southeastern France towards the end of November 2022.

Anatoly Gerashchenko, the ex-leader of the Moscow Aviation Institute, passed away last year after reportedly falling down "several flights of stairs".