Masquerading as reporter, Russian assassin hunted Putin foes in Ukraine

The man was tall and dapper. He wore a dark suit and spoke with a French accent. When he met politicians in Kiev, he introduced himself as Alex Werner, a reporter with the French newspaper Le Monde.

“He was elegant, calm and confident,” recalled Amina Okuyeva, who is a minor celebrity in Ukraine because she served with her husband as a volunteer soldier in the war against separatists in the eastern part of the country. Mr. Werner had interviewed her several times.

It was midway through one of those purported interviews, in a terrifying flash of gunpowder, that Mr. Werner’s true identity came to light: He was, in fact, a Chechen assassin, the Ukrainian authorities now say.

Under the guise of a journalist, the assassin, Artur Denisultanov-Kurmakayev, tried to murder Ms. Okuyeva and her husband, Adam Osmayev, Ukraine’s Interior Ministry said.