Ukraine Prosecutor Claims FSB, Ex-Partner Of Victim's Wife Behind Kiev Slaying

KIEV, Ukraine -- Ukraine's top prosecutor has claimed that the killing of a former Russian lawmaker, who was shot dead in Kiev in March, was ordered by a former partner of the victim's wife, and suggested that the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) was behind it.

Denis Voronenkov and his wife Maria Maksakova in 2016.

Prosecutor-General Yuriy Lutsenko's October 9 announcement was billed as a breakthrough in the probe into the killing of Denis Voronenkov, a former State Duma deputy who defected to Ukraine and became a critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Voronenkov was gunned down in broad daylight in central Kiev on March 23.

The alleged gunman in the contract-style killing, Crimean-born Ukrainian national Pavlo Parshov, died in the hospital after being shot by Voronenkov's wounded bodyguard.

In the new statement, Lutsenko said Ukrainian investigators had discovered that the slaying was ordered by Vladimir Tyurin, a Russian he described as a "criminal kingpin...who is under FSB control." 

Lutsenko asserted that Tyurin also had "personal reasons" to kill Voronenkov, who he said "used to be the common-law husband of Maria Maksakova, who later became Voronenkov's wife."

He said Ukraine would seek Tyurin's extradition from Russia.

Tyurin denies involvement and dismissed the claim as "nonsense," according to a former lawyer for the Russian.

Voronenkov's killing "is the doing of Ukrainian nationalists, who hoped that the Ukrainian authorities would then use it for a new accusation against Russia," the Interfax news agency quoted lawyer Sergei Belyak as saying.

Tyurin "has no connection to this crime," he said.

Maksakova, an opera singer who is also a former Russian lawmker, could not immediately be reached for comment.

Voronenko's killing was one of a series of politically charged shootings, car bomb blasts, and other attacks carried out in Kiev in the past 15 months.

None of the cases has been solved and nobody has been convicted, but Ukrainiain authorities in many cases see the Russian security and intelligence services as the main suspects.

On the day of Voronenkov's killing, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko called it "an act of state terrorism by Russia."

Tensions between Russia and Ukraine are extremely high due to Russia's seizure of the Crimean Peninsula and its role in a war that has killed more than 11,000 people in eastern Ukraine since April 2014.

Source: Radio Free Europe