MOSCOW, Russia: The Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov has been shot dead in Moscow, prompting a strong worldwide condemnation. Russian media is claiming that murder is a part of big conspiracy to change regime of President Vladimir Putin while western media is saying this is politically motivate murder.
In a statement, the Russian interior ministry said that Nemtsov was shot at around 23:40 (20:40 GMT) on Friday while crossing Bolshoy Kamenny Bridge accompanied by a woman. Police is investigating this woman without disclosing her identity.
The police said that the opposition leader was shot four times in the back by an unknown gunmen in a car.
The 55-year-old Nemtsov served as the first deputy prime minister during the presidency of Boris Yeltsin in the 1990s.
Nemtsov was set to lead an opposition rally scheduled on March 1 in Moscow against the war in Ukraine.
In a recent interview, Boris Nemtsov had said he feared the Russian President Vladimir Putin would have him killed because of his opposition to the war in Ukraine.
Meanwhile, Putin condemned the murder and announced to take “personal control” of the investigation into Nemtsov’s death, according to his spokesman Dmitry Peskov.
“Putin noted that this cruel killing has all the signs of a hit, and is a pure provocation,” Peskov said.
The spokesman further said that the president has “expressed his deep condolences to the family of tragically deceased Nemtsov.”
The US President Barack Obama condemned the “brutal murder” of Boris Nemtsov and called on the Russian government to conduct a “prompt, impartial and transparent investigation”.
The secretary general of the Council of Europe Thorbjorn Jagland also condemned the killing.
“I am shocked and appalled key opposition leader Boris Nemtsov was shot. Killers must be brought to justice,” Thorbjorn Jagland said in a tweet.