A prominent Ukrainian journalist known for his pro-Russian views was shot dead on Thursday in Kiev by two masked gunmen, the interior ministry said, a day after a former lawmaker loyal to ousted president Viktor Yanukovich was also killed.
Oles Buzina, (45), was known for his pro-Russian opinion pieces published in Ukraine's Sevodnya daily newspaper, which is part of the media empire of Ukraine's richest businessman, Rinat Akhmetov. He ran in last year's election for a parliamentary seat for the Russian Bloc party, but was not elected.
“Today at 13.20 hrs (10.20 Irish time) ... two unidentifiable men in masks shot journalist Oles Buzina,” the ministry said in an online statement. The shooting appeared to have taken place outside his home and a team of police investigators was at the scene.
A day earlier a former member of parliament for Mr Yanukovich's discredited Party of Regions, Oleh Kalashnikov, was killed in a similar attack at his home as he entered the premises.
An interior ministry adviser to President Petro Poroshenko suggested the deaths were since both victims played a part in the "Anti-Maidan" movement, which opposed pro-Western protests that ousted Yanukovich in 2014.
"It seems the shooting of witnesses of the Anti-Maidan affair continues," the adviser, Anton Gerashchenko, said in a Facebook post.
Russia's president Vladimir Putin, in a televised call-in show, referred specifically to Buzina's death, saying it had been politically motivated.
"This is not the first political assassination. Ukraine is dealing with a whole string of such murders," Mr Putin said during his annual call-in in Moscow, when asked about the murder.