Ukraine’s prosecutor general has claimed the murder of former Russian MP Denis Voronenkov in Kiev was ordered by a mobster working for the Russian secret services.
Mr Voronenkov fled to Ukraine in 2016 and was gunned down in the capital in broad daylight this March. He had given testimony about former president Viktor Yanukovych, who is being tried in absentia for treason, as well as the presence of Russian forces in Ukraine, prosecutor general Yury Lutsenko told journalists on Monday.
“Representatives of the Russian special services prepared a plan to physically destroy him as a witness,” Mr Lutsenko went on to allege. “The actual person who ordered the murder … was Vladimir Anatolyevich Tyurin, a criminal authority controlled by the Russian FSB,” he claimed.
He added that Mr Tyurin is the former partner of Mr Voronenkov’s wife Maria Maksakova, a Russian opera singer and ruling party MP who had joined her husband in Kiev. The results of the investigation will be brought to court, and Ukraine will seek Mr Tyurin’s extradition, Mr Lutsenko said.
Mr Tyurin’s lawyer Sergei Belyak told Interfax news agency his client “didn’t have anything to do with this crime and considers the accusations against him nonsense”.
Mr Voronenkov fled to Ukraine in 2016 shortly before his term as a communist MP would have been up, claiming persecution by the FSB. He had previously been suspected him of corruption and was linked him to illegal offshore firms by the Panama Paper leaks.
His shooting at the hands of Pavlo Parshov, a former member of a nationalist volunteer battalion that fought Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine, was one of a string of high-profile murders in Kiev. Mr Parshov was shot by a bodyguard and died shortly after.
Ms Maksakova told television channel 112 Ukraine on Monday that while her husband “angered” Mr Tyurin, “this motive was not enough that he would kill”.
Russia refused to extradite Mr Tyurin to Spain in 2012 on charges of creating an organised crime group and money laundering, Russian media reported.