Ukraine's leader calls killing of Putin critic a Russian terror act

The suspect was wounded and taken to a hospital where he later died, Kiev police Chief Andriy Krischenko said.

After the shooting, Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko pointed to Moscow, calling Voronenkov's death an act of "state terrorism", the Guardian reports.

"A cynical murder of one of the witnesses involved in the state's case against ex-president Yanukovich", said Ukraine's General Prosecutor Yuriy Lutsenko.

In response to Voronenkov's killing, Dmitry Peskov, a presidential spokesperson for Vladimir Putin, promptly dismissed any claims that the attack could be linked to the Kremlin.

Poroshenko said it wasn't accidental that Voronenkov's killing came on the same day as a fire erupted at a Ukrainian military arsenal in the Kharkiv region, which Ukrainian officials say was caused by sabotage.

Once there, he obtained Ukrainian citizenship, denounced Mr Putin's rule and testified against Ukraine's former president Viktor Yanukovich, who fled to Russian Federation in 2014 after his security forces shot dead scores of people in Kiev during mass protests. He was a former member of the Russian parliament before he renounced his citizenship and emigrated last October to Ukraine where he became a citizen. Voronenkov had criticised Russia's decision to annex Crimea and support the uprising in east Ukrain.

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Peskov said Putin had been informed about the slaying and voiced hope the Ukrainian authorities would solve the crime.

Former parliamentarian Denis Voronenkov was killed by an assailant who was armed with a pistol and later died in hospital after being shot in the chest and head by Voronenkov's bodyguard, police said.

Lutsenko said investigators were looking into Voronenkov's role in exposing a contraband ring in Russian Federation which cost several senior security officers their jobs, and also his testimony on Yanukovych as possible motives behind his killing.

Voronenkov told RFERL's Chris Miller in February that he had told Ukrainian prosecutors "some details of what was going on" with Yanukovych when he fled to Russian Federation, "and I will give testimony in open court in the course of judicial inquiry held in Ukraine".

Poroshenko added that he was treating the attack as "an act of Russian state terrorism", although police have still not determined who was behind the assassination.

In Russia, Voronenkov faced numerous criminal charges, among them of fraud, and was arrested in absentia by a Moscow court; his name was put on the Russia's federal wanted list.

It came after he told Ukrainian media that Russian Federation was going through a "pseudo-patriotic frenzy" similar to Nazi Germany, the Moscow Times reported. Voronenkov had received Ukrainian citizenship despite criticisms that he had been very much part of the Putin establishment and voted for the Russian annexation of Crimea.

  • Leroy Wright