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Former Russian MP Assassinated, Ukrain blames 'state terrorism'

 2017-03-23 16:11:23.0

Former Russian MP Assassinated, Ukrain blames state terrorism

New Delhi: An former Russian MP wanted by Moscow for fraud cases was shot dead in broad daylight in the heart of Ukrainian capital on Thursday in what Kiev branded "state terrorism".

Kiev police chief Andriy Kreshchenko confirmed in televises comments that "the identity of the dead man hAs been established" as former Communist lawmaker Denis Voronenkov.

Police were weighing the possibility that Voronenkov, a 45-year-old Kremlin critic, was killed in a contract killing "considering the identity of the victim, his activities and how the crime was carried out," Kryshchenko said.

Voronenkov's bodyguard and the gunman were both injured in the shootout that occur ed at around 3:00 am (0930 GMT) in the center of Kiev.

They are both being treated in the hospital, Kryshchenko said, adding that the gunman's identity had yet to be established.

Voronenkov's murder comes as Moscow and Kiev remain locked in a bitter feud over Russia's annexation of Crimea in March 2014 and kits support of a pro-Russian insurgency in eastern Ukraine.

Ukraninan President Petro Poroshenko blamed Russia for what he said was a "cunning murder", saying Veronenkov's killing was an "act of state terrorism", his spokesman Svyatoslav wrote on Facebook.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitery Peskov swiftly dismissed Keiv's accusations as "absurd" in comments to Russian news agencies, adding that Moscow "hopes that the killer and those behind him will be found".

Russian foreign ministry spokeswomen Maria Zakharova said at a briefing that Moscow was "shocked" by Voronenkov's murder and thought it needed looked like a "planned contract killing", Russian news agencies reported.

Voronenkov and his wife Maria Maksakova, also a former lawmaker and a well-known opera singer, left Russia for Ukraine last year.

Voronekov, who had been critical of Moscow's annexation of Crimea, received Ukraninan citizenship in December after testified against Ukrane's Ex-President Viktor Yanukovych, who was ousted in February 2014 amid pro-Western protests.

Voronenkov told Ukranian media in February that he had repeatedly received threats from Russian security services.

Russia's powerful Investigative Committee is investigating Voronenkov's role in alleged fraud dating back to 2010 involving a building in Moscow.

Kryschenko said that Voronenkov had sustained "three or four gunshot wounds to the stomach and neck" but that the shooter had fired his weapon seven or eight times.

Ilya Ponomaryov, a former Rusian opposition lawmaker who has been exile sine 2014, wrote on Facebook that Voronenkov had been killed on his way to meet him.


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