Ukrainian police have arrested former minister Leonid Kozhar on a murder charge related to the fatal shooting of Sergiy Starytsky, the ex-head of the country’s most popular pro-Russian television network.
Leonid Kozhara served as foreign minister from 2012 to 2014 in the pro-Russian government led by exiled president Viktor Yanukovych. Yanukovych was ousted by the Maidan protest movement in 2014.
The body of Starytsky was discovered in Kozhara’s home outside Kyiv last month. Investigators said he was shot in the head from Kozhara’s pistol.
Kozhara and his wife “continue to claim Sergiy Starytsky ended his life by committing suicide”, deputy interior minister Anton Gerashchenko said on Wednesday.
The couple admits to being at home at the moment of Starytsky’s death, but say that the businessman went to a different room and used the gun on himself.
Investigators, however, concluded that Starytsky could not have shot himself. They believe that the two men were consuming alcohol in the Kozharas’ kitchen when they got into an argument, which turned into a physical altercation.
If convicted, Kozhara faces up to 15 years in prison.