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Ex-official in Ukraine, target of probe, found dead

Associated Press

KIEV, Ukraine – The former interior minister was found dead in his home Friday, an apparent suicide, just before he was to be questioned about the 2000 slaying of a journalist, dealing a blow to an inquiry that could implicate the former president.

Former Interior Minister Yuriy Kravchenko suffered two gunshot wounds to the head. A TV station reported he left a note blaming his suicide on former President Leonid Kuchma “and his entourage.” The journalist’s widow suggested it was all part of a cover-up to protect “the old regime.”

President Viktor Yushchenko, who has made solving the murder of journalist Heoriy Gongadze a moral obligation for his new administration, ordered the current interior minister and prosecutor general to take over the investigation.

Kravchenko, 53, had been implicated in organizing the killing of Gongadze, who wrote about top-level corruption under Kuchma.

Kuchma again denied any involvement Friday.

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