Boris Nemstov, Russian opposition politician, shot dead in Moscow

Russian opposition leader Boris Nemstov, former deputy prime minister and prominent critic of Vladimir Putin, was shot dead late Friday evening in Moscow. Nemstov was reportedly shot a total of 4 times by a passing car whilst crossing a bridge near St Basil’s Cathedral and the Kremlin.

Nemstiv, 55, was due to participate in a large opposition protest within the capital against Putin’s government and the war in Ukraine on Sunday. This was the first opposition protest to occur within months Al Jazeera has reported.

“According to preliminary information, an unidentified person shot at Boris Nemtsov no fewer than seven-eight times from a car as he was walking along the Bolshoi Moskvoretsky Bridge,” investigators have stated.

Police cars have been stationed to seal off the bridge, with numerous emergencies services within immediate proximity of the scene.

It has been reported that Russian President Vladimir Putin has openly condemned the murder. Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov stated, “Putin noted that this cruel killing has all the signs of a hit, and is a pure provocation,”. He has also said in a statement that Putin has offered his condolences to Nemstov’s family and friends.

Nemstov’s political career began as the governor of Nizhny Novogrod region in Central Russia, in which he soon become vice prime minister in the late 1990’s during Brois Yeltsin’s presidency. Nemstov left in 2003 to help establish and lead numerous opposition groups.

Nemstov has been briefly detained numerous times over the years for his part in political rallies according to reports.

Yelena Alekseyeva, an interior ministry spokesperson, has told reporters that Nemstov was walking with a woman at the time of his shooting. The woman, who has been identified as an Ukrainian national, is now being questioned.

The shooting has taken Moscow by shock as no major political figure has been killed in Russia in over a decade.

A spokeswoman for the police has stated that a manhunt is currently underway for the killer.