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Apparent Assassination Attempt Injures Ukrainian Lawmaker, Kills 2 People

Police officers examine the crime scene where a Ukrainian lawmaker was wounded and his bodyguard killed in Kiev late Wednesday night.

One Ukrainian lawmaker has been hospitalized, two people killed and two others injured after an apparent bomb tore through downtown Kiev on Wednesday night. The blast appears to have been an attempt to assassinate Ihor Mosiychuk, a member of the strongly nationalist Radical Party.

The explosion, which investigators have traced to a suspected explosive device strapped to a parked motorcycle, killed Mosiychuk's bodyguard and a passerby as the lawmaker and several other people were leaving a TV studio. Authorities are already calling the violence a terrorist attack.

"I believe that the initiators are in Moscow, the executors are in Kiev," Mosiychuk wrote on Facebook from his hospital bed, as translated by Reuters.

And indeed authorities are saying they have not ruled out the possibility that Russia is behind the attack — though, as NPR's Lucian Kim notes, they are also weighing the possibility it was part of a domestic political dispute or personal feud.

Since 2014, when it annexed the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine, Russia has supported a separatist insurgency in the country's eastern regions. Mosiychuk himself has fought against the insurgents as part of the Azov Battalion, "a volunteer regiment that fought Russia-backed separatists in southeastern Ukraine," according to The Associated Press.

Through his spokesman, Russian President Vladimir Putin denied Moscow's involvement. "Beyond all doubt," Dmitry Pescov told reporters, including the AP, "these are new signs of this anti-Russian campaign which has unfortunately swept across Ukraine and Kiev."

Lucian notes that Wednesday's "bloody and cruel crime" — in the words of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko — was just one of several high-profile targeted attacks in Kiev recently.

"In July 2016, a prominent journalist was killed by a car bomb," he reports, "and in March a former Russian lawmaker was gunned down outside a downtown hotel."

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