Sunday 19 November 2017

Former Russian lawmaker shot dead in Kiev, police say

The covered body of Denis Voronenkov is seen outside a hotel in central Kiev Reuters
The covered body of Denis Voronenkov is seen outside a hotel in central Kiev Reuters
Denis Voronenkov

Samuel Osborne

A former lawmaker of the Russian State Duma, Denis Voronenkov, was killed in the centre of the Ukrainian capital of Kiev on Thursday, police said.

Kiev police chief Andriy Kryshchenko told the television channel 112 that Voronenkov was killed around noon (1000 GMT) and his bodyguard was also injured in the attack.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said the killing was an act of Russian "state terrorism."

The Kremlin called allegations Moscow was behind the murder "absurd."

Mr Voronenkov, 45, a former member of the communist faction in the lower house of Russian parliament, had moved to Ukraine last autumn and had been granted Ukrainian citizenship.

The former MP had criticised Moscow's illegal annexation of Crimea and had been due to testify against ex-President Viktor Yanukovych, a firm ally of President Vladimir Putin.

His bodyguard reportedly returned fire and wounded the attacker, who is being treated in hospital.

Another former MP and Kremlin critic living in Kiev said Mr Voronenkov was killed while heading to meet with him.

Mr Voronenkov was "an investigator who was deadly dangerous for the [Russian] security agencies," Mr Ponomaryov wrote on Facebook, according to a translation from The Moscow Times.

Mr Voronenkov left Russia with his wife, the singer Maria Maksakova, who was also a member of parliament.

He said he had to leave Russia because of persecution by Russian security agencies, and had renounced his Russian citizenship.

Mr Poroshenko also said the killing of the MP on the same day as a warehouse blast at a military base in easetern Ukraine was "not an accident".

He did not provide evidence for his claim.

Ukraine's defence minister has said the country suspects the Russian military or its separatist rebel proxies were responsible for blowing up a warehouse storing tank ammunition in the eastern city of Balaklia.

Fire and explosions caused the detonation of ammunition in several sites at the base, possibly set off by a drone attack or a radio or timed device, Defence Minister Stepan Poltorak said.

Nobody was hurt but around 20,000 people have been evacuated from the surrounding area in the eastern Kharkiv region.

Firefighters have struggled to douse the flames and explosions at the site continue, sending clouds of thick grey smoke into the sky.

Independent News Service

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