Russia remains consistant in the implementation of its Federal program "Witness Termination." Former State Duma MP Denis Voronenkov, who recently fled Russia with his family to settle in Kyiv and obtained Ukrainian citizenship, was killed March 23 in the very center of the Ukrainian capital.

Voronenkov was one of the witnesses in the case where ousted Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych, now sheltered in Russia by Vladimir Putin, is charged with high treason. He testified, how the former Ukrainian leader appealed to his "friend" in the Kremlin with the request to deploy troops into his country. According to Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko, the ex-Russian citizen provided to the military prosecutor’s office some "extremely important testimony in this case." Moreover, this testimony was recorded in a written protocol.

However, this brazen execution of Voronenkov doesn’t only suggest that someone in Russia got really stressed out about his testimony (leaving out Yanukovych, of course). It also means that the Kremlin has cynically shown to Ukraine and the whole world that those trying to flee from Russia and hide from its punishing hand, while being ready to speak publicly about Russia’s repressive system, whose masterminds have been concentrated within the Kremlin walls for decades, these people should beware. Moscow wants them to realize that they can’t feel safe anywhere.

Some days before the assassination, Denis Voronenkov and his wife (also a ex-Russian MP) Maria Maksakova’s former colleagues discussed the so-called defectors on one of Russian TV channels. They predicted that Maksakova will not last long with such a husband

Such a demonstration of strength is an indicator that there might still be plenty of influential civil servants in Russia, who consider testifying against their "master." Now there will be less of them.

Some days before the assassination, Denis Voronenkov and his wife (also an ex-Russian MP) Maria Maksakova’s former colleagues discussed the so-called defectors on one of Russian TV channels. They predicted that Maksakova will not last long with such a husband. They meant marriage, but the implication was life. Now Maria is unlikely to continue actively communicating with Western media, talking about the reasons of their escape from Russia. No one is even talking about any testimony against the Kremlin’s top anymore…

Is it worth throwing stones at Ukrainian special services, who failed to protect a valuable witness? On the one hand, the fact that the Russian political refugee was murdered in the very heart of the Ukrainian capital proves that Russian special services, capable of plotting and implementing such a show execution in the fourth year of the Russian-Ukrainian war, see no particular obstacles to their operations in Kyiv (Odesa, Kharkiv, Dnipro, etc.)

On the other hand, Russia’s so-called Federal program "Witness Termination" has been effective in different countries. Several years ago, no one was able to save Alexander Litvinenko in London, while a lot of questions arise regarding the recent sudden death of Russia’s Permanent Representative to the UN Security Council Viktor Churkin in the United States, as well as numerous "heart attacks" of Russian ambassadors and consuls throughout the world...

According to one of the Ukrainian political scientists, it was personally Vladimir Putin who murdered Voronenkov in the center of Kyiv, although he did not pull the trigger. If we remember how and where the Russian opposition’s Boris Nemtsov was killed two years ago, there’s no doubt about who has ordered today’s assassination. He gives himself away with some sort of sick love for theatrical effects in the realization of such terrible plots. Another thing, it would be great to see Ukrainian law enforcers being able to effectively investigate such brazen assassinations committed in Ukraine. The public also hopes to hear some answers in the case of Pavlo Sheremet’s murder, too.

Tatiana Urbanskaya