Former Russian Politician And Putin Critic Killed In Kiev

Denis Voronenkov was shot in broad daylight on a central street in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev

Investigators inspect the body of Denis Voronenkov — REUTERS
Mar 23, 2017 at 8:46 AM ET

A former Russian lawmaker who had criticized Russian President Vladimir Putin and compared Russia to “Nazi Germany” was shot dead Thursday afternoon in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev, local police reported.

Denis Voronenkov, a critic of Putin’s 2014 annexation of Crimea, was killed around noon in the center of Kiev. His bodyguard, who was injured in the attack, fired back at the shooter. The attacker’s identity is unknown, said Kiev police chief Andriy Kryschenko.

Voronenkov had been scheduled to testify as a key witness against former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, an ally of Putin’s who has been living in exile in Russia since being ousted from office three years ago.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said Voronenkov’s killing “clearly shows the handwriting of Russian special services shown repeatedly in various European capitals in the past.”

In a statement, Poroshenko described the victim as a key witness who gave testimony about “Russian aggression” to the Ukrainian authorities.

Voronenkov has been living in Ukraine since last October with his wife, opera singer Maria Maksakova who was also a former parliamentary member He’d said that he and his wife were forced to move because of political persecution from the Russian authorities that claimed he’d been involved in illegal seizure of property in Moscow. Voronenkov and his wife renounced their Russian citizenship and were granted Ukrainian citizenship.

In an interview with Radio Free Europe, Voronenkov compared the situation in Russia to “Hitler’s Nazi Germany.”

“We need to be careful. We are poking a sore spot of the Kremlin with our statements,” Voronenkov told Radio Free Europe back in February.