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Key Witness in Ukraine's Gongadze Murder Case Found Dead

  • Lisa McAdams

Ukraine's Former Interior Minister, Yuri Kravchenko, has reportedly committed suicide on the day he was to be questioned by investigators in connection with the high-profile murder of opposition journalist Georgy Gongadze.

A team of investigators led by the head of Ukraine's Secret Service, Oleksandr Turchinov, has left for the cottage outside Kiev, where Mr. Kravchenko is reported to have shot himself after being implicated in the journalist's death.

Mr. Kravchenko, who served as interior minister at the time of Mr. Gongadze's disappearance in 2000, was seen as a crucial witness in the case, given his close relationship to former President Leonid Kuchma.

Kiev-based independent political analyst Ivan Lozowy says the truth may have died Friday with Mr. Kravchenko.

"Unfortunately, the single person who, for sure, knew whether orders came directly from [then-President Leonid] Kuchma to kill [Mr.] Gongadze or not is now dead."

Earlier this week, Ukraine's Prosecutor General Svyatoslav Piskun said investigators had identified all four people involved in Mr. Gongadze's death, including the mastermind. But he refused to identify who ordered the killing.

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