Former Russian lawmaker Denis Voronenkov was shot dead in Kyiv Thursday in a likely contract killing ordered by Russia, Ukrainian police said.
Voronenkov fled to Ukraine last year, fearing for his safety and testified in a treason case against Ukraine’s pro-Russia former president, Viktor Yanukovych.
Ukraine’s general prosecutor, Yuriy Lutsenko, said Voronenkov’s testimony in the case likely led to his death.
“In broad daylight in the center of Kyiv, former Russian lawmaker Denis Voronenkov was shot,” Lutsenko said. “He had provided investigators of the military prosecutor’s office with highly important (witness) testimony for the case. This was a typical show execution of a witness by the Kremlin.”
Police said Voronenkov was standing outside a hotel in central Kyiv when the assailant shot and killed him. Voronenkov’s bodyguard was also wounded, but returned fire and hit the gunman.
Both men are now hospitalized, police said.
Ilya Ponomarev, another former Russian lawmaker who fled to Ukraine, said Voronenkov was on his way to meet him when the shooting occurred.
“I have no words. The security guard was able to injure the attacker. The potential theory is obvious. Voronenko was not a crook, but an investigator who was fatally dangerous to Russian authorities,” he wrote on Facebook.
Moscow has denied any involvement in the murder.
“We believe that any insinuations that can already be heard of a so-called Russian connection are absurd,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Russian news agencies.