Former Russian lawmaker fatally shot outside of Kiev hotel

Former Russian lawmaker fatally shot outside of Kiev hotel
Source: AP
Source: AP

Former Russian lawmaker Denis Voronenkov was shot and killed outside of a hotel in Kiev on Thursday in what Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko called an "act of state terrorism" by Russia.

Voronenkov, who was shot in the middle of a busy street, was a noted thorn in the side of the Kremlin. According to the Guardian, he had become a central critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin and of Russia's annexation of Crimea, after fleeing the country for Ukraine in 2014.

In a statement, Poroshenko called Voronenkov one of the "main witnesses of the Russian aggression against Ukraine and, in particular, the role of [former Ukranian President Viktor] Yanukovych regarding the deployment of Russian troops to Ukraine."

Forensics experts carry Voronenkov's body after he was found dead outside of a hotel in Kiev.
Source: Sergei Chuzavkov/AP

The Kremlin, however, was swift to deny any accusations of foul play. During an appearance on Russian state television, former Russian Federal Security Service Director Nikolai Kovalyov posited that the killing might have been rooted in a business dispute, Time reported.

Voronenkov is the latest in a series of nearly one-dozen Russian officials to die under suspicious circumstances. In February, Russian United Nations Ambassador Vitaly Churkin died after he was rushed to the hospital for a "sudden illness" in New York. 

On Dec. 26, Oleg Erovinkin — an ex-KGB chief who had been accused of helping the former British spy who compiled the infamous dossier on United States President Donald Trump — was found dead in his car.