RIGA - President Andris Berzins has spoken out about the recent shooting of Russian opposition politician Boris Nemtsov, expressing his hope that those responsible for the murder will be found and punished.
The president’s press secretary Liga Krapane said that Berzins hopes the relevantauthorities in Russia will do everything they can to find those responsible for the crime.
The president has also expressed condolences to the family and friends of the murdered politician.
The AFP news agency reports that Western leaders on Saturday condemned the drive-by shooting of Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov, a fierce critic of President Vladimir Putin, as he was walking across a bridge near the Kremlin.
U.S. President Barack Obama decried the “brutal” and “vicious murder” of Nemtsov, which came ahead of a major opposition rally planned for Sunday, and called on Russia to conduct an impartial probe.
French President Francois Hollande called the killing a “hateful murder” of a “defender of democracy”.
A constant stream of people laid flowers and set candles at the site of the murder on Saturday morning, with police closing off one lane of traffic to let them through, an AFP reporter saw.
The Kremlin said Putin had taken personal control of the investigation. Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the murder of the 55-year-old former deputy prime minister bore “the hallmarks of a contract killing” and described it as a provocation.
The brazen assassination was one of the highest-profile killings during Putin’s 15 years in power and recalled the shooting of anti-Kremlin reporter Anna Politkovskaya, who was gunned down on Putin’s birthday in 2006, the AFP writes.
Investigators said Nemtsov was shot by unidentified assailants from a white car as he was walking with a woman along a bridge just metres from the Kremlin.
“According to preliminary information, an unidentified person shot at Boris Nemtsov no fewer than seven or eight times from a car as he was walking along the Bolshoi Moskvoretsky bridge,” said investigators.
Interior ministry spokeswoman Yelena Alekseyeva said four bullets struck Nemtsov.