A leading Russian opposition politician and former Deputy Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov, has been shot dead Friday night in central Moscow .
An unidentified attacker in a car shot Mr Nemtsov four times in the back as he crossed a bridge in view of the Kremlin. Police said Nemtsov was walking with a young woman visiting him from Ukraine, who was not hurt. Police were questioning her all night.
Boris Nemtsov died hours after appealing for support for a march on Sunday in Moscow against the war in Ukraine.
Investigators said the murder could have been “a provocation aimed at destabilising the country”. In a statement they said, that several motives for the killing were being considered including “Islamic extremism”.
According to Itar-Tass news agency , President Vladimir Putin was “immediately” informed about Nemtsov’s murder and said Kremlin will oversee the investigation.
A Putin spokesman said the president said it looks like a contract killing that could be a provocation ahead of an opposition march set for Sunday.
After police removed body of Boris Nemtsov , weeping mourners placed flowers and lit candles on the spot where he was gunned down.
Mr Nemtsov, 55, served as first deputy PM under President Boris Yeltsin in the 1990s but fell out of favour with Mr Putin and became an outspoken opponent, particularly on the Ukraine conflict.
Secretary of State John Kerry expressed shock and sadness. “Boris Nemtsov committed his life to a more democratic, prosperous, open Russia, and to strong relationships between Russia and its neighbors and partners, including the United States.
“His absence will be deeply felt in Russia and around the world. The United States urges the Russian authorities to act expeditiously to investigate and bring to justice those responsible. Our thoughts are with the Russian people and with Nemtsov’s family and friends as we mourn his loss.”