Oct. 31 (UPI) — Prominent pro-Ukrainian volunteer fighter Amina Okuyeva — the wife of a man accused of plotting against Russian President Vladimir Putin — was shot dead in an ambush, Ukraine’s Interior Ministry said Tuesday.
Amina Okuyeva and Adam Osmayev were targeted in their car on Monday in the Ukrainian village of Hlevaha, near Kiev. Okuyeva, regarded by some as a hero in Ukraine for her fight against pro-Russian rebels, was killed and Osmayev was shot in the leg.
The attack was confirmed by Anton Herashchenko, and adviser to Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov. No group immediately claimed responsibility for the shootings, but Ukrainian officials suspect the involvement of the Russian government.
Osmayev and Okuyeva are ethic Chechens well-known for fighting as volunteers in eastern Ukraine. In 2007, Osmayev was arrested and charged with plotting to kill Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov. He moved to Ukraine after the case collapsed for lack of evidence, and was arrested in 2012 for illegal weapons possession.
At the request of the Russian government, plotting to assassinate Putin was added to the list of charges — but that provision was ultimately dropped by Kiev.
In battling pro-Russian forces in Ukraine, Osmayev commanded a group comprised largely of Chechens who fled from Russia to Ukraine. Okuyeva served as a medic in Ukraine’s Kiev-2 battalion and fought to free the Ukrainian city of Debaltseve, taken in 2015 by pro-Russian militias.
The couple previously faced an attempt on their lives in June, when a man posing as a journalist shot at them. Okyveya wounded the gunman, later found to be Artur Denisultanov-Kurmakayev, who was openly associated with a Chechen organized crime group in St. Petersburg, the Kiev Post reported.