A tragic event. On possibly orchestrated by Vladimir Putin.
A man Trump apparently admires. If one believes Trump’s prior praises of Putin.
Excerpt from The Washington Post.
KIEV — In the plush, crimson-decked lobby bar of Kiev’s five-star Premier Palace Hotel, Denis Voronenkov, a Russian lawmaker who defected to Ukraine, knew he was in danger.
“For our personal safety, we can’t let them know where we are,” he said Monday evening as he sat with his wife for an interview with The Washington Post.
Less than 72 hours later, he was dead, shot twice in the head in broad daylight outside the same lobby bar. It was a particularly brazen assassination that recalled the post-Soviet gangland violence of the 1990s. His wife, dressed in black, sobbed as she stooped down to identify Voronenkov’s body, which lay beneath a black tarp in a pool of blood.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, just hours later, called the attack an “act of state terrorism by Russia.” As of Thursday evening, police had not identified the assailant, who died in police custody after being shot by Voronenkov’s bodyguard. Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin, called the accusation a “fabrication.”
In the weeks before his death, Voronenkov, a former member of Russia’s pliant Communist Party, had told friends he was being targeted. Hackers had been trying to pry into his Twitter account and his wife’s email. He had received threatening text messages, and the police had recently assigned him a bodyguard. There were rumors he was under surveillance.
“It’s a totally amoral system, and in its anger it may go to extreme measures,” he said as he sat next to his wife, Maria Maksakova, a fellow parliamentarian who defected with him. “There’s been a demonization of us. It’s hard to say what will happen. The system has lost its mind. They say we are traitors in Russia.”
He said he could return only “when Putin is gone.”
At a time when the question of Russian influence dominates U.S. politics, Voronenkov’s death will add further scrutiny to the extent, and potential lethality, of Russia’s reach abroad. It remained unclear who might have wanted to killed Voronenkov — theories include Russian agents, Ukrainian nationalists or business interests — but the fact remains that he is just the latest Kremlin opponent to wind up dead.
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