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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

2 Charged in Death of Yushenkov

Two suspects have been arrested in the northern Komi republic and charged with the murder of Liberal Russia co-chairman Sergei Yushenkov, Interior Minister Minister Boris Gryzlov said Wednesday.

"These people were detained far from Moscow -- in Syktyvkar," Gryzlov told reporters, Interfax reported.

Gryzlov gave only the last names of the suspects -- Kulachinsky and Kiselyov -- and said they were suspected of carrying out the killing of Yushenkov on April 17.

The Prosecutor General's Office, which is in charge of the high-profile investigation, said Wednesday that the two suspects have been charged with carrying out a contract hit, Interfax reported.

If convicted, they face up to 20 years in prison.

Gryzlov refused to discuss possible motives for the murder, saying, "An investigation into this crime is continuing."

He said Kulachinsky is a convicted criminal who was released from prison in January after serving a sentence for dealing drugs.

He added that clues collected at the murder site helped investigators to track down the suspected killers.

Yushenkov, a respected liberal lawmaker, was gunned down in the evening near his apartment building in northwestern Moscow.

Interfax, citing an unnamed source close to the case, said one of the suspects fired the gun that killed Yushenkov, while the other waited in a getaway car.

The source said investigators know who ordered the murder and are hoping to make an arrest soon.

The source said the arrests were sanctioned by a Syktyvkar court and later by Moscow's Basmanny district court.

However, Judge Olga Solobova of the Basmanny court said Wednesday that the court has not issued any arrest warrants connected to the Yushenkov investigation, Itar-Tass reported.

Gazeta.ru speculated that the suspects were detained some time ago and investigators have kept the information under wraps.

Yuli Nisnevich of the Liberal Russia party said by telephone that he had not heard about the arrests.