Ukrainian Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko has announced that the man who assassinated ex-lawmaker from Russia`s State Duma Denis Voronenkov in Kyiv on March 23 visited the Russian occupied city of Donetsk in eastern Ukraine prior to the incident, according to Germany`s Bild.
”The terrorist went to temporarily occupied territory, namely the city of Donetsk on March 6. This gives the grounds to the president [of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko] and myself to suspect of Russia`s involvement in that case. Ukrainian guardsmen [the assassin was reported to have served in the National Guard of Ukraine], even former ones, are not allowed to visit that territory. We`ve searched the flat where the killer lived with two other persons. I cannot reveal more details due to the ongoing investigation,” Lutsenko told Bild.
Earlier, former State Duma member Denis Voronenkov, who was expected to become an important witness in a treason trial against Russian-backed ex-president of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych, was shot dead in the center of Kyiv on March 23, 2017. Voronenkov`s bodyguard, who was wounded in the attack, also managed to hit the assassin with several shots as he returned fire. The killer later died amid surgery in a Kyiv hospital.
Voronenkov and his wife, the singer Maria Maksakova, who was also a Russian politician, were granted Ukrainian citizenship in December 2016 after fleeting Russia. A former Communist Party member in the Russian parliament, he feared for his safety after speaking out against Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Voronenkov had been a vocal critic of the Kremlin`s actions in Crimea and eastern Ukraine. He told Ukrainian media in an interview that Russia was going through a ”pseudo-patriotic frenzy” similar to Nazi Germany.
Russia launched a smear campaign against Voronenkov last year, pinning US$ 5 million fraud charges on him and his wife. The Russian Investigative Committee indicted Voronenkov in absentia and put him on the Russian federal wanted list. Voronenkov was accused of large-scale fraud, namely an illegal seizure of a building in the center of Moscow in 2011. The criminal case against him was opened in October 2011.