KIEV – Ukrainian model Anna Duritskaya, the sole witness of the recent murder of Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov in Moscow, is being provided with official protection from the Ukrainian authorities after receiving death threats, according to a statement made by the Ukrainian Public Prosecution on Friday.
The prosecution noted in a statement that Anna Duritskaya claimed that she had received death threats from a group of strangers while in Kiev.
The 23-year-old woman was walking with Nemtsov at the time when he took four bullets to the back about a week ago. Duritskaya’s lawyer confirmed that she received threats, but did not reveal further details.
“Public Prosecutor of Ukraine Viktor Shokin has ordered that all necessary measures be taken to protect the life and health of Hanna Durytska, a witness in the killing of Russian opposition politician Boris Nemtsov,” Interfax Ukraine news agency quoted the prosecution’s statement.
The Ukrainian model left Moscow on Monday after testifying before the committee investigating the assassination of the Russian opposition leader.
Durytska returned back to the Ukrainian capital only after the Russian authorities allowed her to leave Moscow, and did not attend Nemtsov’s funeral, which was held the following day in Moscow.
A week after the Nemtsov’s Kremlin-adjacent murder, investigations have yet to make any substantial progress.
The Russian investigative committee announced a reward of 3 million rubles (around $50,000) for anyone with “valuable information” about the incident, and confirmed that it currently has numerous hypotheses about the possible motives for the murder.
Investigators have not ruled out that the motive behind Nemtsov’s murder are political, but concede that the impetus may have been personal.
Nemtsov was among the most prominent opponents of the Russian intervention in Ukraine’s internal affairs, and has consistently condemned the participation of thousands of Russian soldiers in fighting along with pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.
The Russian opposition described the murder as a “political assassination”, and attacked the Kremlin for inciting hatred inside the country as part of a larger campaign against the new enemies of the Russian people, in reference to those who condemn the separatist uprising in eastern Ukraine and question the policy adopted by Moscow concerning the conflict.