#AceNewsReport – Mar.23: Exiled Russian lawmaker Denis Voronenkov, 45, was assassinated in front of Kyiv’s Premier Palace hotel on March 23, the #police said, in a gruesome #shootout on a busy street corner in the center in Kyiv at approximately 11:30 a.m at 12:49: SUSPECTED KILLER OF EX RUSSIAN LAWMAKER VORONENKOV WAS #SHOT IN HEAD, CHEST, LEG – REPORTS – Here is a list of events since first report – #AceNewsDesk reports
14:03: DOCTOR SAYS #KILLER OF EX-RUSSIAN LAWMAKER VORONENKOV DIED – REPORTS
12:56: GUNMAN #SHOT FORMER RUSSIAN LAWMAKER VORONENKOV 4 TIMES – UKRAINE PROSECUTOR GENERAL
12:52: SUSPECTED #KILLER OF EX RUSSIAN LAWMAKER VORONENKOV IN KIEV IN CRITICAL CONDITION – UKRAINE PROSECUTOR GENERAL
12:51: AROUND 20 SHELLS FOUND ON SITE OF MURDER OF EX-RUSSIAN LAWMAKER VORONENKOV IN KIEV – UKRAINE PROSECUTOR GENERAL
12:50: SUSPECTED #KILLER OF EX RUSSIAN LAWMAKER VORONENKOV WAS WANTED OVER FICTITIOUS ENTREPRENEURSHIP AND MONEY LAUNDERING – REPORTS
10:54: UKRAINE #POLICE SAY SUSPECT IN SHOOTING DEATH OF RUSSIA’S EX-LAWMAKER VORONENKOV WOUNDED, DETAINED AND HOSPITALISED
KyivPost reported that exiled Russian lawmaker assassinated in Kyiv Voronenkov, a former member of Russian Communist Party, emigrated to Ukraine from Russia in 2016 and received Ukrainian citizenship in December. He was highly critical of the Russian authorities, who launched a fraud investigation against him following his criticism.
In January, Voronenkov testified against former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych in Kyiv.
Voronenkov was #shot twice in the head when he was leaving Premier Palace Hotel on the corner of Taras Shevchenko Boulevard and Pushkinska Street.
The alleged attacker also wounded Voronenkov’s bodyguard, who fired shots at the assailant. Both the attacker and the bodyguard were taken to the hospital, the #police said.
Various eyewitnesses said they had heard from six to 12 gunshots. A gun was found lying next to Voronenkov’s head.
An alleged attacker was lying on the ground a few meters away from Voronenkov, face down. He was wearing a gray sweatsuit and gloves.
The investigation’s main version is that the assassination was ordered from Russia, Larysa Sargan, a spokeswoman for Ukrainian Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko, told Channel 112.
Voronenkov was going to a meeting with another exiled Russian lawmaker, Ilya Ponomarev, when he was attacked. “He was heading to a meeting with me. I have no words,” Ponomarev tweeted.
Voronenkov leaves a wife and two children.
Denis Voronenkov, a former Russian lawmaker who emigrated to Ukraine in 2016, was shot to death in central Kyiv on March 23. (Facebook/Denis Voronenkov)
Ukraine’s president Petro Poroshenko released a statement on the murder, pointing finger at Russian special services.
“Despicable #murder of Denis Voronenkov in the Kyiv center is an act of terrorism by Russia, (the country) that he was forced to leave for political reasons. Russian special services were involved in it,” Poroshenko’s statement reads. “Voronenkov was one of the main witnesses of the Russian aggression against Ukraine and the role of (ex-Ukrainian President Viktor) Yanukovych in bringing troops to Ukraine.”
Poroshenko was backed by Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko, who called the murder “a typical public execution by Kremlin.”
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov called such statements absurd.
“We think that any guesses about the so-called ‘Russian trace’ are absurd. We hope that the murderer and those behind him will be found,” Peskov told the Russian media.
Testimony against Yanukovych, charges in Russia
Voronenkov and his wife, Maria Maksakova, who is also a former Russian lawmaker, left Russia for Ukraine in October 2016 after the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office refused to launch a probe against Voronenkov’s alleged involvement in an illegal property seizure in Moscow in 2015. The probe was recommended by the federal Investigative Committee.
Voronenkov said that in January he testified in the case against former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, who is under investigation by Ukrainian authorities for high treason and encroachment on the territorial integrity of Ukraine in 2014. Yanukovych is also a suspect in multibillion-dollar corruption and mass murder.
In February, Russian authorities launched a large-scale fraud investigation against Voronenkov. The charges followed the publication of Voronenkov’s interview in the Ukrainian media outlet Censor.net.ua, where he was highly critical of Russian authorities. During the interview, he said that Russia was in the grip of a “pseudo-patriotic frenzy” similar to Nazi Germany, and claimed that it was a “mistake” for Russia to annex the Crimean peninsula.
Medics help a man who allegedly shot Denis Voronenkov and was wounded by his bodyguard on Pushkinska Street in Kyiv on March 23. (Pavlo Podufalov)
Safety concerns, warnings
In an interview with the Gordon.ua news site in February, Voronenkov said that some people were calling for his assassination on Russian television.
“On Russian television channels everyone is shouting: Voronenkov should be exchanged for Roman Sushchenko (a Ukrainian political prisoner held in Russia) and, if this fails, he should be killed like (Ukrainian nationalist leader Stepan) Bandera,” he said. “People in Russia have gone crazy, they’re not sane.”
Voronenkov and his wife, Maria Maksakova, were highly critical of Russian President Vladimir Putin in interviews with journalists, including a February interview with Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s Christopher Miller headlined: “Seen As Turncoats By Moscow, Exiled Duma Pair Blasts Moscow From Kyiv.”
In that interview, Voronenkov said that he is not interested in entering Ukrainian politics and is not currently working. Even though feeling relatively safe, Voronenkov said that he feared for his and his family’s safety.
In the same interview, his wife Maksakova said that she and Voronenkov let Moscow with no clear agenda but to escape pressure from the Federal Security Service (FSB).
Even though Voronenkov is registered as having voted in favor of Russia’s annexation of Crimea, in an interview with Radio Free Europe, he denied that he cast his vote himself.
In 2014, Voronenkov was co-authoring the bill in the State Duma that banned the foreign ownership of Russian media.
Last year, his name surfaced in the so-called Panama Papers leak as a shareholder of a British Virgin Island company.
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