Published: Sun, April 02, 2017
Global Media | By Meredith Barber

Official says trained Russian agent killed exiled Kremlin critic in Ukraine

Official says trained Russian agent killed exiled Kremlin critic in Ukraine

In a statement released by his spokesman, Svyatoslav Tsegolko, Mr Poroshenko described the victim as a key witness who gave testimony about "Russian aggression" to the Ukrainian authorities.

Members of the Russian parliament were quick to reject Ukrainian allegations that Mr Voronenkov could have been killed over any betrayal of Russia.

Poroshenko said the "cunning murder" of Voronenkov - who said he had received threats from Moscow's security services - was an "act of terrorism on the part of Russian Federation, which he was forced to leave for political reasons", presidential spokesman Svyatoslav Tsegolko wrote on Facebook. The gunman also wounded Voronenkov's bodyguard, who was able to fire back at the attacker.

A former Russian lawmaker who became a vociferous critic of Moscow following his recent move to Ukraine was shot and killed Thursday in Kiev, prompting harsh words between the two neighboring countries.

"What happened is obvious - I said that Voronenkov wasn't a crook but a witness who was deadly unsafe for the Russian security services", Ponomarev said.

Krishchenko said police were viewing the murder as a contract killing.

Voronenkov criticized Putin and his policies, including the 2014 annexation of Crimea, in several interviews after his defection.

Samuel Greene, director of King's College London's Russia Institute, says that both political sides need to take stock of the situation before jumping to confirm or deny Russian involvement.

Voronenkov was to depose against Ukraine's former president Viktor Yanukovych, who had fled to Russian Federation after the Maidan revolution in 2014.

Denis Voronenkov, a former Russian lawmaker and prominent critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin was shot in the head in the middle of the day Thursday on a busy street in Kiev, Ukraine.

"We believe that all the falsehoods that can already be heard about much-hyped Russian involvement are absurd", Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was quoted as saying about the killing.

Voronenkov's role in exposing a contraband ring is also part of Ukraine's investigation, according to general prosecutor Yuriy Lutsenko.

Media reports said the suspected assassin of Voronenkov had been placed on a wanted list by Ukraine's law enforcers for illegal activity such as fraudulent deals and money laundering. Voronenkov and his wife renounced their Russian citizenship and were granted Ukrainian citizenship. Thus, he chose to go to Ukraine, where he made statements against his country, although in recent times, he seemed to have plans to return to Russian Federation. "This was a typical show execution of a witness by the Kremlin".

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