The contract killing of Maksim Kurochkin in a Kyiv courthouse has proven again that criminals in our country have been living quite comfortably recently and that they act more and more impudently, Secretariat Chief of Staff Viktor Baloha said on Wednesday, according to the President`s press-office.

“We and especially Ukraine’s Interior Ministry and Prosecutor General’s Office must admit this bitter fact,” he said.

Baloha said President Yushchenko had sent a letter to Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych on March 23 to say he was worried about the spate of contract murders in Ukraine.

“Today’s murder of Maksim Kurochkin in the capital’s district court is a tragic proof that such killings are becoming an ordinary attribute of our life,” he said. 

“The death of the defendant before hearing a court ruling is a professional challenge for the Interior Minister. One can be either imprisoned or released after a trial but not buried,” he said, adding that many newly appointed bosses of the Interior Ministry often called themselves professionals. “It is time these pros showed us what they can do and find those who murdered Kurochkin and those who paid for this crime.”


He said it was vital to stop criminals to reassure our society.

“It must be task number one for the Interior Ministry to uproot gangsterism in Ukraine.”

According to AP, Kurochkin died on the spot after being shot by an unidentified gunman outside Svyatoshynsky District Court. He ran an organization that supported Yanukovych during the bitter 2004 presidential campaign and the Orange Revolution mass protests, was arrested last November at Kyiv`s airport. The businessman`s trial, which began last month, has been closely watched due to his ties to Yanukovych. Kurochkin had said the case against him was fabricated.