Pro-Russia reporter gunned down

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Published: Thursday 16th April 2015 by The News Editor

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A Ukrainian journalist known for his pro-Russian views has been gunned down in broad daylight in Kiev.

Oles Buzyna, 45, who worked as editor-in-chief of a leading daily until March, was killed on Thursday afternoon by two masked men shooting from a passing car, the Ukrainian interior ministry said in a statement.

Mr Buzyna, who ran for a seat in parliament on the Russian Bloc ticket in 2012, was largely perceived as more of an activist than a journalist. He had a three-month stint as the editor-in-chief of Segodnya, a newspaper owned by Ukraine’s Russia-leaning richest man, before he resigned in March citing censorship pressures.

The killing is particularly ominous following another high-profile murder on Wednesday. Oleh Kalashnikov, a politician from ex-President Viktor Yanukovych’s party, was found dead on the landing of his home in Kiev with a gunshot wound. Police would not immediately say whether he was murdered or killed himself.

Speaking on his televised annual call-in show, Russian President Vladimir Putin described Mr Buzyna’s death as a political murder and accused the Ukrainian government of reluctance to investigate the killings of political opponents.

Anton Herashchenko, an adviser to the interior minister, said in a Facebook post that Mr Buzyna – like Mr Kalashnikov – was a key witness in a criminal case related to pro-Russian activists who in early 2014 attacked the pro-Western protests on Kiev’s main square. The protests eventually led to the ouster of the Kremlin-friendly Mr Yanukovych, who fled the country in February last year.

Mr Herashchenko called on all witnesses in the case or anyone who might have information about it to contact the police if they fear for their safety. The minister said the killings “could be” orchestrated by Russia in order to “destabilise the situation in Ukraine from within”.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko also linked the two deaths, blaming them on the country’s “enemies” who try to “discredit the political choice of the Ukrainian people”.

Dunja Mijatovic, representative for freedom of the media at the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, condemned Mr Buzyna’s murder and urged a full and immediate investigation.

Published: Thursday 16th April 2015 by The News Editor

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