Two held in Nemtsov killing
MOSCOW (AP) – Two suspects have been detained in the killing a week ago of opposition politician Boris Nemtsov, the head of Russia’s federal security service said Saturday, an announcement received with both scepticism and reserved satisfaction by some of Nemtsov’s comrades.
Alexander Bortnikov, in comments shown on state television, said the two suspects were from Russia’s North Caucasus region, but gave no details other than their names.
He said they were “suspected of carrying out this crime”, but it was not clear if either of the suspects was believed to have fired the shots that killed Nemtsov as he and a companion walked over a bridge near the Kremlin on February 27. No charges were immediately announced.
Nemtsov’s killing shocked Russia’s already beleaguered and marginalised opposition supporters. Suspicion in the opposition is high that the killing was ordered by the Kremlin in retaliation for Nemtsov’s adamant criticism of President Vladimir Putin. The 55-year-old was working on a report about Russian military involvement in the eastern Ukraine conflict.
But Russia’s top investigative body said it was investigating several possible motives, including that he was killed in an attempt to smear Putin’s image. It also said it was looking into possible connections to Islamic extremism and Nemtsov’s personal life.
Many believe that Nemtsov’s death in a tightly secured area near the Kremlin wouldn’t have been possible without official involvement, and could be an attempt to scare other government foes.
Putin dubbed Nemtsov’s killing a “provocation”.
One of Nemtsov’s closest allies in the opposition, Ilya Yashin, said on Facebook after the announcement that “It’s hard to judge whether these are the real performers of if the investigation went down a false track”.
In any case, he said, “it’s extremely important that the matter not be limited to detention of the shooters, whether these are the real killers or not. The key task is the identification and detention of who ordered” the attack.