Putin critic Denis Voronenkov shot dead in Ukraine


Denis Voronenkov was shot dead as he stepped out of the exclusive Premier Palace hotel, and a gunfight left his bodyguard and his killer bleeding on the pavement until police arrived.

Peskov said that Putin was informed about Voronenkov's killing and voiced hope that Ukrainian authorities would solve the crime. Voronenkov's bodyguard was also wounded, but returned fire and hit the gunman.

"Voronenkov isn't a crook - he's an investigator of mortal danger to Russia's security services", he said.

Voronenkov and his wife had in the past harshly criticized Vladimir Putin after they fled to the Ukraine in October.

In a statement on Thursday, Poroshenko, the Ukrainian president, said, "Voronenkov was one of the main witnesses of Russia's aggression against Ukraine and the role of Yanukovych in bringing troops to Ukraine".

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However, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov denied the allegations as "absurd", the TASS news agency reported.

A Ukrainian official said Friday that the killer of renegade Russian lawmaker Denis Voronenkov, who was gunned down in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev, was a Russian agent, a claim quickly rejected by the Kremlin.

Kiev "will do its best to make sure that no one will ever know the truth about what happened", Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said.

Denis Voronenkov, a Communist party member of the Russian parliament from 2011 to 2016, was shot dead on Thursday morning in front of a hotel in central Kyiv.

Voronenkov fled to Ukraine a year ago and was helping the Ukrainian authorities build a treason case against Yanukovich, Ukraine's pro-Russia former president.

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

According to the press service of the Russian Investigative Committee, it was established that Voronenkov ensured the financing of the criminal activities and gave instructions to the accomplices.

Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko said the killing "is an act of state terrorism on the part of Russian Federation, which (Voronenkov) was forced to leave for political reasons".

The controversial lawmaker left Russian Federation for Ukraine in 2016 after losing his parliamentary re-election bid and amid accusations of fraud, which he said were the machinations of his political opponents.

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