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Sunday 17 December 2017

Boris Nemtsov's model girlfriend 'didn't see his assassin'

Ganna Duritska, the chief witness to the murder of Russian protest leader Boris Nemtsov, the Ukrainian model by his side when he was shot dead (Getty Images)
Ganna Duritska, the chief witness to the murder of Russian protest leader Boris Nemtsov, the Ukrainian model by his side when he was shot dead (Getty Images)
Ganna Duritska
People hold banners to commemorate Kremlin critic Boris Nemtsov, who was shot dead on Friday night in Moscow, during rally in support for Russian opposition in front of Royal Castle in Warsaw. Banners read 'Boris killed the hope killed', 'I am not afraid', 'Yes for freedom! No for war!' REUTERS/Kacper Pempel
People march during a march in memory of Russian opposition leader and former Deputy Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov on March 01 in central Moscow, Russia (Alexander Aksakov/Getty Images)
Flowers and a condolence message that reads "In memory of Boris" are placed with a portrait of Boris Nemtsov at the site where he was gunned down near the Kremlin in Moscow (AP)
Moscow protest
Marina Litvinenko, the widow of Alexander Litvinenko, stands beside tributes left outside the Russian Embassy in central London, after the shooting of Russian opposition politician Boris Nemtsov in Moscow (Laura Lean/PA Wire)
Thousands of people march in central Moscow to commemorate Kremlin critic Boris Nemtsov, who was shot dead on Friday night
Thousands converged Sunday in central Moscow to mourn veteran liberal politician Boris Nemtsov, whose killing on the streets of the capital has shaken Russias beleaguered opposition. They carried flowers, portraits and white signs that said I am not afraid (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)
People march behind a banner to commemorate Kremlin critic Boris Nemtsov, who was shot dead on Friday night, in central Moscow, holding placards declaring "I am not afraid" (REUTERS/Maxim Zmeyev)
Police check the area before the march in memory of opposition leader Boris Nemtsov. (AP)
People in Moscow carry portraits of opposition leader Boris Nemtsov, who was gunned down near the Kremlin (AP)
People in Moscow carry a huge banner reading 'those bullets for every one of us, heroes never die!' as they march in memory of opposition leader Boris Nemtsov, who was gunned down on Friday near the Kremlin (AP)
People in Moscow march next to flowers and posters reading 'propaganda kills!, Fight!' at the place where Boris Nemtsov, a charismatic Russian opposition leader and sharp critic of President Vladimir Putin, was gunned down on Friday (AP)
People light candles in memory of Boris Nemtsov, image behind, at the monument of political prisoners 'Solovetsky Stone' in central St.Petersburg, Russia
People with Russian national flags march in memory of opposition leader Boris Nemtsov in Moscow (AP)

Boris Nemtsov's girlfriend has broken her public silence on the murder of the Russian opposition activist, saying she did not see the killer who gunned him down as they strolled across a bridge near the Kremlin.

Speaking largely without emotion in deadened monosyllables, Ukrainian fashion model Anna Duritskaya said she had little recollection of what happened in the moments after Nemtsov was shot dead last Friday night.

suspicious

She told online news channel Dozhd that she had not noticed anything suspicious as the couple dined at a restaurant overlooking Red Square.

It had not occurred to her that someone might be following them as they headed across the river towards Nemtsov's apartment.

"I am in a very difficult psychological condition and I cannot talk about this any more now. I saw no one. I don't know where he came from, he was behind my back," she said of the killer or killers.

Nemtsov (55) was shot several times and killed instantly, becoming the most prominent opposition figure to be murdered during President Vladimir Putin's 15-year rule.

Tens of thousands of Russians marched through Moscow on Sunday to honour the former deputy prime minister.

Duritskaya (24) said she had been under constant guard since the murder and would probably be unable to attend today's funeral. All she wanted to do was to go home to her mother in Ukraine.

"I have every right to leave. I am not a suspect. I am a witness and did everything possible to assist," she said.

Nemtsov, an opposition politician whose murder has deepened a divide between liberals and Putin supporters, will be buried today at the Troekurovskoye cemetery in western Moscow, far from where Russia's top politicians are usually interred.

"I cannot go out. Most likely I will not go," Duritskaya said when asked if she would attend. She said she was now staying at a friend's apartment in Moscow.

Investigators had questioned her several times, gone through her belongings and taken data from her mobile phones. She said she was initially questioned for several hours without a lawyer or representative from the Ukrainian embassy.

Nemtsov had criticised Putin's annexation of Crimea and his support for pro-Russian separatists in the east of Ukraine.

Investigators say they have come up with a number of possible motives for Nemtsov's murder. One is that he may have been the victim of a jealous former lover, a version Duritskaya ruled out.

"I don't think anything. I cannot think at the moment. I don't know who did it," she said.

hnews@herald.ie

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