Ukraine accuses Russia of 'state terrorism' after former MP shot

A former Russian lawmaker and critic of President Vladimir Putin was shot dead outside his hotel in Kiev on Thursday.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko released a statement saying, "The underhand murder of Denys Voronenkov in the center of Kyiv is an act of state terrorism by Russian Federation, which Denys Voronenkov was forced to leave for political reasons". His bodyguard was injured in the attack.

A suspect in the shooting is wounded and has been taken to a hospital, Kiev police chief Andriy Krischenko said.

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

"The insidious murder of Denis Voronenkov in the center of Kiev is an act of state terrorism on the part of Russian Federation, which he had to leave for political reasons", Tseholko said, quoting Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.

"We think that all the fabrications that can already be heard about a "notorious Russian link" are absurd", said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.

A former Russian lawmaker - who had become a vocal critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin and the country as a whole - has been killed just three days after saying he believed his life to be in danger. Maria Maksakova, an opera singer who also served in the Duma, moved to Ukraine with her husband previous year.

Voronenkov, who had been critical of Moscow's annexation of Crimea, received Ukrainian citizenship in December after he testified against Ukraine's ex-President Viktor Yanukovych, who was ousted in February 2014 amid pro-Western protests.

The day after that interview, Peskov, Putin's spokesman, denied Voronenkov's claim.

"In Russia, there is a system of total fear", he said in the interview with RadioFreeEurope.

It will likely heighten tensions existent between Russian Federation and the Ukraine since Putin illegally annexed Crimea in 2014.

He is registered as having voted in favor of Russia's annexation of Crimea.

The press service of the Security Service of Ukraine could not receive a comment - the telephone sets of the Service are not responding. Another former Russian parliament member and Putin critic, Ilya Ponomarev, said Voronenkov was on his way to meeting with him when he was killed. He was scheduled to give testimony at Ukraine's military prosecutor's office, the objective of which was not immediately clear.

Forensic experts and police officers work at the scene following the killing of Denis Voronenkov in Kiev, Ukraine, Thursday, March 23, 2017.

Voronenkov, 45, had been placed on a Russian federal wanted-list in connection with an alleged US$5 million property fraud.

  • Zachary Reyes