A prominent Ukrainian parliamentarian and close ally of the Prime Minister, Viktor Yanukovych, has died of gunshot wounds suffered in a hunting incident.
Evhen Kushnaryov, a former governor of the eastern Kharkiv region, was shot while hunting with a group of friends. Reports say the shooting happened after the party spotted a wolf near their convoy, and got out to shoot at it. Ukrainian officials said Mr Yanukovych was expected to cut short a visit to Turkey after hearing of the incident. The prime minister learnt of Mr Kushnaryov's death during a joint news conference with his Turkish counterpart, taking some minutes to compose himself. Mr Kushnaryov, in his mid-50s, was the deputy leader in parliament of Mr Yanukovych's Party of Regions, the largest parliamentary party. Police have not said who fired the fatal shot.There has been no suggestion of any foul play
KIEV, January 17 (Itar-Tass) - Ukrainian lawmaker Yevgeny Kushnaryov, wounded in a hunting incident on Tuesday, has died, his colleague from the Party of Regions Anna German told reporters.
The fatal incident occurred when Kusharyov, one of the leaders of Party of Regions, was hunting wild boar with his friends in the Izyum district on Tuesday.
When the hunters were in a car they saw a wolf, and hastened to get out to shoot at it. A stray bullet hit Kusharyov. Under another version, he was wounded because of careless handling of firearm.
The lawmaker was rushed to a hospital of the town of Izyum, and underwent surgery, in which doctors amputated part of his intestines and a kidney.
Kushnaryov, one of the chief ideologists of the Party of Regions, was born in Kharkov on January 29, 1951.
His parents came to Ukraine from Russia. In 1973, he graduated from the Kharkov engineering and construction institute.
He was elected head of the Kharkov City Council at the first democratic election in 1990, and won the mayoral election in the city four years later.
In 1990, he gained a seat in the 1st Verkhovnaya Rada /parliament/, and took an active part in drawing the Constitution.
He was President Leonid Kuchma's chief of staff from December 1996 until November 1998.
Kuchnaryov returned to Kharkov in October 2000 as regional governor and was in office until December 2004.
After the "orange revolution," new authorities began political persecution of Kuchnaryov, accusing him of misuse of funds meant for building a subway in Kharkov, and separatism /in arranging a congress in Severodonetsk in 2004, which announced secession of Donbass and the Crime from Ukraine/.
He was detained by the Prosecutor General’s Office on August 17, 2005, but released on bail several days later.
In February 2006, the criminal case against him was closed because of "a lack of corpus delicti" in his actions.
In March 2006, Kushnaryov was elected to parliament on the party list of the Party of Regions led by Viktor Yanukovich.