In this photo taken on Monday, Feb. 27, 2017, Denis Voronenkov visits a movie theater in Kiev, Ukraine. Ukrainian police said Voronenkov was shot dead Thursday by an unidentified gunman at the entrance of an upscale hotel in the Ukrainian capital. Voronenkov, 45, a former member of the communist faction in the lower house of Russian parliament, had moved to Ukraine last fall and had been granted Ukrainian citizenship. (AP Photo/Oleksandr Synytsia)
Putin critic gunned down in Ukraine
02:38 - Source: CNN

Story highlights

NEW: Suspected shooter dies in hospital

Moscow calls claims Russia is behind the killing "absurd"

Voronenkov sharply criticized Russian President Vladimir Putin after leaving Russia for Ukraine

Kiev, Ukraine CNN  — 

A former Russian lawmaker and Kremlin critic who fled to Ukraine last year was shot dead Thursday in Kiev – a killing that Ukraine’s President called a “Russian state terrorist act.”

Denis Voronenkov, who’d been a Communist member of Russia’s lower legislative house before he left, was fatally shot outside a hotel in broad daylight, officials said.

Voronenkov becomes the latest in a string of Russian critics of President Vladimir Putin and the Russian government who were killed or injured in mysterious circumstances.

The suspect in his death died in the hospital after a shootout with Voronenkov’s bodyguard.

Denis Voronenkov, a former Communist legislator in Russia's lower legislative house, was shot dead in Kiev on Thursday, Ukrainian authorities say.

Calling the killing a “Russian state terrorist act” on Twitter, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko described Voronenkov as “one of the key witnesses of the Russian aggression against Ukraine,” referring to Russia’s 2014 annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region and a subsequent war with pro-Russian rebels.

Poroshenko’s accusation drew a sharp rebuke from officials in Russia.

Voronenkov had denounced Russia’s annexation of Crimea and said he was cooperating with Ukrainian prosecutors’ treason case against former President Viktor Yanukovych, the pro-Russian politician who fled Ukraine in 2014 after protests.

Body lies outside hotel

Details about the shooting weren’t immediately released. CNN video shows investigators standing over the bloodied body of Voronenkov, lying face-up on a Kiev sidewalk near the Premier Palace hotel.