'State terrorism': Ex-Russian lawmaker assassinated in Kyiv

"The dead person is identified", he said. He continued his political career and became a Russian lawmaker as a member of the communist faction in the lower house of Russian parliament.

President Petro Poroshenko said Voronenkov's killing "clearly shows the handwriting of Russian special services shown repeatedly in various European capitals in the past".

Both men are now hospitalized, police said.

Interfax reported Presidential spokesman Sviatoslav Tseholko as accusing Moscow over the attack.

Voronenkov, 46, left Russia for Ukraine in 2016, renouncing his Russian citizenship.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in a statement called Voronenkov's murder an "act of state terrorism by Russian Federation, which he had to flee for political reasons". He added that there are two potential motives for murder: either it was related to Voronenkov's role as witness in a case against ex-president of Ukraine Yanukovych or to former MP's investigations into smuggling cases.

Ukraine's chief prosecutor, Yuriy Lutsenko, said Voronenkov was killed shortly before meeting with another fugitive Russian lawmaker, Ilya Ponomaryov.

Moscow denies sending troops and weapons to separatists in eastern Ukraine - where nearly three years of fighting have killed about 10,000 people and displaced about 1.5 million - and it rejected Mr Poroshenko's allegations.

"Sadly, Denis Voronenkov has joined others like Sergei Magnitsky and Boris Nemtsov who have paid with their lives for speaking the truth, for in Putin's Russian Federation, there is no greater crime", McCain said.

Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin, told reporters that Gerashchenko's allegation was "absurd". Voronenkov's bodyguard was also wounded, but returned fire and hit the gunman.

Denis Voronenkov, a critic of Putin's 2014 annexation of Crimea, was killed around noon in the center of Kiev. The case brings to mind that of prominent Russian journalist Pavel Sheremet, who died in July of a year ago when his auto exploded in central Kyiv.

Ukraine's prosecutor general, Yuri Lutsenko, wrote on Facebook that the killing was "the usual kind of Kremlin retribution".

Voronenkov was helping the Ukrainian authorities build a treason case against pro-Russian former President Viktor Yanukovych, who is hiding in Russia.

Voronenkov and his wife, Maria Maksakova, also a former Russian lawmaker, fled Russia for Ukraine after he was accused of corruption.

  • Salvatore Jensen