A prominent Ukrainian journalist has been shot dead on the street, said Ukranian officials Thursday.
Ukraine's Interior Ministry said in an online statement that Oles Buzina, chief editor of the newspaper Sevodnya or Today, was shot near his home in Kyiv.
Reports said the journalist was killed by two masked gunmen who fled in a car. Police are investigating.
Buzina, 45, was known for writing pro-Russian opinion pieces, according to the Reuters news agency. Reuters said his newspaper is owned by Rinat Akhmetov, the country’s richest businessman and an unsuccessful candidate last year for a pro-Russia bloc in Ukraine's parliament.
The journalist’s death came a day after the similar slaying of a former member of parliament loyal to ex-president Viktor Yanukovych. Oleh Kalashnikov, a member of Yanukovych’s now defunct Party of Regions, was shot dead as he entered his home.
In Russia, President Vladimir Putin said during an annual televised call-in show that Buzina's shooting death was politically motivated, Reuters said.
"This is not the first political assassination," he said. "Ukraine is dealing with a whole string of such murders."
Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on Thursday ordered "a quick and transparent" investigation into both murders, blaming Ukraine's "enemies" as being behind them, his website quoted him as saying.
"It's obvious that these crimes are from the same playbook. Their nature and political purpose are clear - it's a deliberate act which plays into the hands of our enemies," said Poroshenko, according to a statement on his website. Its intent is to destabilize the domestic political situation in Ukraine and to discredit the (pro-Western) political choice of the Ukrainian people."
The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe called Buzina's murder an "appalling act" which must be "immediately and fully investigated by the competent authorities,” adding that it was "yet another reminder about the dangers associated with journalism as a profession."
The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists also condemned the murder, calling on Ukrainian authorities to consider Buzina's journalism as the possible motive for the crime, which it said must be solved "without delay."
Some material for this report came from Reuters.