While the government of Russian President Vladimir Putin continues to come under fire from European and American officials for their unacknowledged support of the rebels battling the Ukrainian government in Donbass, assassinations and accusations against other opposition leaders have begun to attract significant amounts of media attention inside Russia.

On Friday, former Deputy Prime Minister and notable opposition leader Boris Nemtsov was shot dead following an anti-war gathering of Russians opposed to the ongoing war in Ukraine. Reports indicate that he was shot five to eight times in the chest from a vehicle that had approach him as he walked home and crossed a bridge in Moscow. Al Jazeera reports:

Nemtsov, 55, was a sharp critic of President Vladimir Putin, assailing the government’s inefficiency, rampant corruption and the Kremlin’s policy on Ukraine, which has strained Russia-West ties to a degree unseen since Cold War times. His death comes just a day before a planned protest against Putin’s rule.

Russia’s Investigative Committee confirmed the death, saying it had opened a criminal probe. (Al Jazeera, February 27)