KIEV, Ukraine — 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 Yanukovych 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.
"Today at 1320 hrs (6:20 a.m. EDT) ... 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 Yanukovych'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 linked the deaths since both victims played a part in the "Anti-Maidan" movement, which opposed pro-Western protests that ousted Yanukovych in 2014.
"It seems the shooting of witnesses of the Anti-Maidan affair continues," the adviser, Anton Gerashchenko, said in a Facebook post.
Russian 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," Putin said during his annual call-in in Moscow.