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Boris Nemtsov was killed just two days before he was to lead a demonstration against the war in Ukraine.©BELGAIMAGE/ DEMOTIX/Z. Javakhadze 

The murder of Russian opposition politician Boris Nemtsov calls for an independent international investigation, say MEPs in a resolution voted on Thursday. This is the "most significant political murder in recent Russian history", they add, warning that Kremlin propaganda is turning Russia into a "state of repression, hate speech and fear".

MEPs call for an independent international investigation into the murder of Russian opposition politician Boris Nemtsov who was gathering evidence about Russian involvement in the war in eastern Ukraine and was killed just two days before he was to lead a demonstration against it.

They pay tribute to Mr Nemtsov as someone who "committed his life to a more democratic, prosperous, open Russia, and to strong partner relationships between Russia and its neighbours".

MEPs also deplore the fact that some MEPs and diplomats who wished to attend Mr Nemtsov’s funeral were refused entry to Russia.

“Contrary to a functioning democracy”

Russia is moving in a direction "contrary to a functioning democracy", say MEPs, who urge the Kremlin to stop "all pressure, repressive acts and intimidation" against opposition leaders, civil society and media and to release political prisoners such as Ukrainian MP Nadia Savchenko and Estonian police officer Eston Kohver.

MEPs also condemn Russia’s failure to cooperate with the international investigation into the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines flight MH 17 over Ukraine in July 2014.

The EU should act as one

MEPs express Parliament's support for democratic forces in Russia and urge the EU Council to commit the 28 EU countries to a strong, unified message on human rights and on the need to end the crackdown on freedom of expression, assembly there. A stronger programme and more funding is also needed to support Russian civil society in Russia and occupied Crimea, they add.

Russia is turning into "a state of repression, hate speech and fear", where "nationalist euphoria is built on the annexation of Crimea and an escalating war in Ukraine"

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