Towards the end of 2016 a member of Russia’s parliament and his wife defected from Russia to Ukraine. Denis Voronenkov and his wife Maria Masakova sought asylum and he agreed to assist in the Ukrainian investigation into Victor Yanukovych,
KIEV—Only a few months ago Denis Voronenkov and Maria Maksakova were two of the brightest stars in Moscow’s political firmament, trying to improve the system from inside, but very much a part of it. They rode in luxurious cars, dined with the Kremlin’s elite at expensive restaurants, vacationed in Paris and Cannes. Both were members of the Russian parliament, the Duma. He was a colonel in the Russian military—a veteran of the military prosecutor’s office—as well. She, a classic Russian beauty, was a diva at the Mariinsky (Kirov) opera. The couple lived the good life in President Vladimir Putin’s Russia. But then the system chewed them up and spat them out.
Now they are whistleblowers—defectors hunted by Russia’s Federal Security Service, the FSB, who have found asylum in Ukraine. And they say they are ready to open up in court about the inner workings of the Putin establishment.
“Americans should realize that Putin and his guys are convinced that he spins the planet with his feet,” like a soccer ball, Voronenkov told The Daily Beast in an exclusive interview. “The FSB cyber forces are quite powerful globally. Now they do not just listen to you (they listened and recorded all my phone calls for eight years). They also attack other states.”
Col. Voronenkov said he and his wife had no choice but to flee Russia late last year to “defeat the designs of the FSB,” which had begun to investigate them on a number of alleged criminal charges related to a contentious real estate deal. A favorite strategy for silencing suspected troublemakers is to charge them with corruption in a system rife with it.
Voronenkov was assassinated early today in Kiev.
— Maxim Tucker (@MaxRTucker) March 23, 2017
The Independent reports that:
Denis Voronenkov, who testified to Ukrainian investigators and criticsed Moscow’s illegal annexation of Crimea, was shot dead by an unidentified gunman near the entrance of an upscale hotel.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said the killing “clearly shows the handwriting of Russian special services shown repeatedly in various European capitals in the past.”
In a statement released by his spokesman, Svyatoslav Tsegolko, Mr Poroshenko described the victim as a key witness who gave testimony about “Russian aggression” to the Ukrainian authorities.
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, dismissed the claim of Russian involvement in the killing as “absurd” in a statement carried by Russian news agencies.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova went further, saying the “killer regime” in Kiev “will do its best to make sure that no one will ever know the truth about what happened.”
Another former MP and Kremlin critic living in Kiev said Mr. Voronenkov was killed while heading to meet with him.
Not subtle at all.
— Andrew Roth (@ARothWP) March 23, 2017
We also know more about the Russian attorney thrown from his building:
— Baltic Defence (@Baltic_Defence) March 23, 2017
And Russia’s covert Little Green Men and overt actions involving Crimea and the ongoing Russian low intensity war with Ukraine continues apace.
— Petri Mäkelä (@pmakela1) March 22, 2017
Ru provokes and escalates, shows no willingness to implement Minsk. 84 attacks by Ru&proxies, 1 UA KIA. 1 WIA. pic.twitter.com/1aYgVCTtUF
— Mariana Betsa (@Mariana_Betsa) March 23, 2017