Russia politician Boris Nemtsov shot dead
A leading Russian opposition politician, former Deputy Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov, has been shot dead in Moscow, Russian officials say.
An unidentified attacker in a car shot Mr Nemtsov four times in the back as he crossed a bridge in view of the Kremlin, police say.
He died hours after appealing for support for a march on Sunday in Moscow against the war in Ukraine.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has condemned the murder, the Kremlin says.
President Putin has assumed “personal control” of the investigation into the killing, said his spokesman Dmitry Peskov.
Investigators said the murder could have been “a provocation aimed at destabilising the country”.
The investigative committee said in a statement that several motives for the killing were being considered including “Islamic extremism”.
US President Barack Obama condemned the “brutal murder” and called on the Russian government to conduct a “prompt, impartial and transparent investigation”.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko described Mr Nemtsov as a “bridge between Ukraine and Russia”.
“The murderers’ shot has destroyed it. I think it is not by accident,” he said in a statement published on his administration’s Facebook page.
In a recent interview, Mr Nemtsov had said he feared Mr Putin would have him killed because of his opposition to the war in Ukraine.
Mr Nemtsov, 55, served as first deputy prime minister under President Boris Yeltsin in the 1990s.
Falling out of favour with Yeltsin’s successor, Mr Putin, he became an outspoken opposition politician.
A lawyer for Mr Nemtsov reported that he had received death threats over social media in recent months; but for now there’s only speculation as to why he was targeted. He openly opposed Moscow’s role in the crisis in Ukraine – and the annexation by Russia of Crimea.
He had been planning a rare public protest on Sunday against both things – and a growing economic crisis in this country.
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