Russian Newspaper Receives Sheep In Cages After Report On Putin Ally

Nine live sheep were left outside the Moscow offices of Novaya Gazeta, the second strange delivery since the the independent Russian newspaper published allegations that a businessman with Kremlin ties was involved in attacks on his opponents.

Three cages, each containing three sheep -- some dressed in blue vests reading "Press, Novaya Gazeta" -- were left outside the building housing the newspaper on October 29. The cages had signs that said "Novaya Gazeta."

There were no immediate claims of responsibility for sending the animals.

The newspaper on October 22 published a report by journalist Denis Korotkov that quoted a purported former security aide to Yevgeny Prigozhin as saying the businessman was involved in several attacks against his opponents, including at least one killing.

Prigozhin, known as Vladimir Putin's "chef" because of his work to organize catering events for the Russian president, has been indicted by U.S. investigators for allegedly trying to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

He is also accused of playing a key role in Russia's support for separatists fighting against government forces in eastern Ukraine.

Korotkov's article was published less than a week after a funeral wreath was anonymously sent to his home with a note calling him "a traitor to his country."

On October 8, unknown people left a basket containing a severed ram's head and red carnations at the newspaper's office with a note saying, "To Novaya Gazeta's chief editor with greetings to you and Korotkov."

Novaya Gazeta -- which has had five of its reporters killed since 2000 for their work -- says Russian authorities are conducting a smear campaign against Korotkov in response to allegations he has endangered the lives of Russian soldiers' families by publishing personal information about Russian military pilots in Syria.