Russian dissident shot dead who would have been a star witness in Paul Manafort trial in Ukraine

Ukraine is going after Manafort for the deaths of several Ukrainian protesters – Manafort’s own daughter alleges the deaths were arranged by Manafort for Yanukovych’s political gain

Another great piece of investigative reporting by Bill Palmer – Palmer Report – March 23, 2017

Just one day after the full extent of former Donald Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort’s alleged crimes in Ukraine was publicly revealed, the Russian dissident who would have been a star witness against him has been shot to death in Kiev. Denis Voronenkov, a former elected official in Russia who fled to Ukraine and joined the resistance against Vladimir Putin, was murdered earlier today according to CNN. So what’s his connection with Manafort?

Yesterday, the government of Ukraine released evidence which confirmed the longtime rumors that Paul Manafort had been taking tens of millions of dollars in payments from a Kremlin intermediary while he was running the political campaign of Russian puppet Viktor Yanukovych in Ukraine. Yanukovych was elected president before ultimately being chased out of the country by the Ukrainian people.

Denis Voronenkov was helping Ukraine build a treason case against Yanukovych, but they were never going to be able to get him back from Russia in order to put him on trial. In contrast, the government of Ukraine has become increasingly vocal about wanting to put Paul Manafort on trial for his financial crimes in relation to in installing Yanukovych into power. In addition,

Ukraine recently stated its intention to go after Manafort for the deaths of several Ukrainian protesters; Manafort’s own daughter alleges the deaths were arranged by Manafort for Yanukovych’s political gain.

Considering the extent to which the FBI is investigating Paul Manafort for his alleged criminal collusion with Russia to rig the 2016 election in Donald Trump’s favor, and the mounting evidence against him, it seems likely that he’ll have to answer for his crimes in the United States one way or the other. But if Ukraine decides to separately try Manafort, Denis Voronenkov would have been a key witness. And because Voronenkov spent time in Russian parliament, he could have used the trial to air out Putin’s most corrupt secrets in the process.

So his murder today may help Putin, but it probably doesn’t help Manafort. Voronenkov’s murder makes him the tenth prominent Russian to die suspiciously during the course of the Trump-Russia scandal.

As CNN reports:

Kiev, Ukraine (CNN) – A former Russian lawmaker and Kremlin critic who fled to Ukraine last year was shot dead Thursday in Kiev – a killing that Ukraine’s President called a “Russian state terrorist act.”

Denis Voronenkov, who’d been a Communist member of Russia’s lower legislative house before he left, was fatally shot outside a hotel in broad daylight, officials said.

Voronenkov becomes the latest in a string of Russian critics of President Vladimir Putin and the Russian government who were killed or injured in mysterious circumstances.

The suspect in his death died in the hospital after a shootout with Voronenkov’s bodyguard.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko called Thursday’s killing a “Russian state terrorist act” on Twitter, and described Voronenkov as “one of the key witnesses of the Russian aggression against Ukraine” – referring to Russia’s 2014 annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region and a subsequent war with pro-Russian rebels.

Poroshenko’s accusation drew a sharp rebuke from Moscow. Any claims that Russia is connected to the killing are “absurd,” Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, according to Russian state-run TASS news agency.

Voronenkov had denounced Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea and said he was cooperating with Ukrainian prosecutors’ treason case against former President Viktor Yanukovych, the pro-Russian politician who fled Ukraine after deadly 2014 protests.

Links to this story:

Palmer Report – Russian dissident shot dead who would have been star witness in Paul Manafort trial in Ukraine

CNN – Ukraine’s leader calls killing of Putin critic a Russian terror act

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