A shooter assassinated former Russian lawmaker Denis Voronenkov, who was also a critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, outside of a hotel in Kiev, Ukraine.

Voronenkov, former member of the Communist Party, fled to Ukraine last fall with his wife when he found out he would face fraud charges “over the alleged misappropriation of a Moscow building in 2011.”

The Ukrainian government granted him citizenship and he provided evidence against former Russian-backed President Viktor Yanukovych, who ran to Russia after parliament ousted him on February 22, 2014.

The Murder

Voronenkov left the Premier Palace hotel with his bodyguard this morning when a shooter opened fire on him. The bodyguard was wounded, but managed to shoot the assassin, who later died at a hospital:

Head of Ukraine’s Prosecutor General’s Office (PGO) Yuriy Lutsenko has said the bodyguard of assassinated former Russian lower state parliamentarian Denis Voronenkov received wounds and is giving evidence about the attack, while the assassin is in critical condition.

“The bodyguard was shot in the chest, but he is alive and cooperating with investigators. The killer was shot twice, in the chest and head, which makes it impossible to depose him at the present time,” Lutsenko said during a press briefing in Kyiv on March 23.

Lutsenko informed the media that the assassin “had documents of a Ukrainian citizen on him.” However, authorities are still working on authenticating these documents and identifying the man.

Translation: Dead Voronenkov, ex-deputy of the state duma of the Russian Federation. Testified against Yanukovych. 7 shots.

Ukraine Reaction

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko called the assassination an ‘act of terrorism’:

Poroshenko said the killing “is an act of state terrorism on the part of Russia, which he was forced to leave for political reasons,” Poroshenko said in a statement.

“Voronenkov was one of the main witnesses of the Russian aggression against Ukraine and, in particular, the role of Yanukovich regarding the deployment of Russian troops to Ukraine.”

As mentioned above, Voronenkov worked with the Ukrainian government to build a case against Yanukovych. The detectives have told the media their main theory revolves around Russia:

“Bearing in mind who the victim was, we see the Russian Federation’s actions aimed at eliminating this person as someone who gave important testimony in proceedings taking place in Ukraine among the primary theories,” Oleksandr Vakulenko, Ukrainian National Police deputy chief and head of the Main Investigative Directorate, told reporters at the crime scene.

Lutsenko also announced more protection for Voronenkov’s widow Maria Makaskova and another Russian defector, Ilya Ponomarev. Ponomarev lives in a self-imposed exile in Kiev since 2015. He faced problems after he voted against annexing Crimea from Crimea, including the government freezing his assets and investigating him for embezzlement. Lutsenko said:

“It’s already been decided today to place both Ponomaryov and Maria Maksakova under guard by a special SBU [Ukrainian Security Service] unit,” Ukrainian Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko said at a news briefing in Kyiv on March 23.

Voronenkov’s Past

Voronenkov served in Russia’s lower house as a member of the Communist Party, but left for Ukraine last October when Russia’s Federal Investigative announced an illegal property seizure case against him.

He testified against Yanukovych in January. Yanukovych, backed by Putin, left for Russia in February 2014 after facing three months of protests in Kiev after he decided for closer relations with Russia instead of a partnership with the European Union. The Ukrainian government continues to investigate Yanukovych for “high treason and encroachment on the territorial integrity of Ukraine” along with “multibillion-dollar embezzlement and mass murder.” Before parliament ousted him, Ukrainian officials opened fire on protesters and murdered at least 100.

The Russian officials officially launched their investigation in February almost right after “the publication of an interview with Voronenkov in the Ukrainian media outlet Censor.net.ua, in which he was highly critical of Russian authorities.” He told the outlet “that Russia was in the grip of a ‘pseudo-patriotic frenzy’ similar to Nazi Germany, and claimed that it was a ‘mistake’ for Russia to annex the Crimean peninsula.”

Last month, he also spoke about safety in Ukraine because people called for his assassination on Russian television. He also claimed that he did not cast the vote in his name favor of Crimea’s annexation.

Long List of Putin’s Critics That Have Been Murdered or Poisoned

Unfortunately, it has always been dangerous to speak out against Putin. It means risking your life and your family’s life. Here are a few Putin critics that have died and one who has escaped twice.

Vladimir Kara-Murza

In February, Russian activist and writer Vladimir Kara-Murza experienced immobility and felt incapacitated before he slipped into a coma in Russia. Doctors diagnosed him with organ failure and placed him on life support. It’s the the exact same thing he experienced May 2015 when doctors suspected he survived a poisoning. Thankfully, like last time, Kara-Murza survived and lived to point the finger at Putin again:

“Given the sophistication of the poison, and it seems to be very sophisticated, because first of all, we don’t know what it is, and secondly that, you know, when it methodically shuts down all of your organs one after another within the space of a few hours, that’s sophisticated,” he told NBC News in an interview scheduled to air Friday. “Given that, and given that I have no idea how or where it happened, so the way it was done was also sophisticated, I can only presume, that this, this was done by people, with at least, with connections to the Russian Special Services.

“And as for the reason, this is what I really do have no doubt about,” he said. “This is because of, uh, my involvement in the Russian opposition.”

Boris Nemtsov

A gunman murdered Nemtsov, a Russian physicist, statesman, and liberal politician, near the Kremlin in 2015 only moments after he urged “the public to support a march against Russia’s war in Ukraine.” It also came after he promised to publish a report that proved Russia’s involvement in Ukraine. His friends helped compile and publish the report a few months later. I reported at Breitbart:

Nemtsov’s friends stepped up to finish the report in an effort to expose what they see as Russian President Vladimir Putin’s lies about Ukraine. The report states “at least 150 Russian military personnel were killed during a Ukrainian offensive in August 2014.” Then 70 more died in January and February near Debaltseve, which occurred five months after Russia and Ukraine agreed on a ceasefire agreement. The government rewarded the families $39,000 if they promised not to tell anyone. Nemtsov’s report also stated the Kremlin forced the soldiers “to officially resign from the military before being deployed to Ukraine” to provide another shield for Putin.

Anna Politkovskaya

A gunman assassinated Russian journalist and Putin critic Anna Poliykovskaya in October 2006 in an elevator at her apartment complex. She received numerous death threats for criticizing Putin, especially after she published her book Putin’s Russia: Life in a Failing Democracy. She wrote about how Putin pursued a second Chechan War in order to grab more power while accusing him and the FSB of cracking down on civil rights in order to bring Russia back to the Soviet Union. Remember, Putin once said that the greatest geopolitical tragedy of the 20th century.