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Ukraine Says Russian Crime Lord Staged Lawmaker's Killing

  • Associated Press

Forensic experts and police officers investigate at the scene following the killing of Denis Voronenkov in Kyiv, Ukraine, March 23, 2017.

Ukraine's chief prosecutor on Monday blamed a Russian crime lord linked to Russia's security agency for the killing of renegade Russian lawmaker Denis Voronenkov.

Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko said Voronenkov was gunned down in March on orders from Vladimir Tyurin, a former partner of Voronenkov's wife, Maria Maksakova. Lutsenko said Tyurin, who had ties with Russia's Federal Security Service, or FSB, commissioned several Ukrainians for the hit job.

Voronenkov, who had toed the Kremlin line while serving as a Russian lawmaker but turned a Kremlin critic after his move to Ukraine last year, was shot dead near the entrance to an upscale hotel in the center of Kyiv. The hit man, a Ukrainian, was fatally wounded by Voronenkov's bodyguard, who also died in the gunfight.

Lutsenko said two other Ukrainian suspects have been detained and another two are on the run.

He didn't provide details of Tyurin's alleged FSB ties. Russia has denied any involvement in Voronenkov's killing.

Tyurin's lawyer, Sergei Belyak, dismissed Lutsenko's accusations in remarks carried by the Interfax news agency. He said Tyurin had no conflicts with or personal grudge against Voronenkov, and no links to the FSB.

Voronenkov, who owned prized real estate in Moscow, was reportedly involved in business disputes, but saw off attempts to lift his parliamentary immunity amid criminal charges while in Russia. Russian investigators filed fraud charges against him in connection with his business activities after his move to Ukraine.

Relations between the two countries have been badly strained over Russia's 2014 annexation of the Crimea peninsula from Ukraine and its support for separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine.

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