Anna Duritskaya, who was walking with opposition leader Boris Nemtsov when he was shot dead near the Kremlin on Friday evening, told media Monday that investigators are forcing her to stay in Moscow and not allowing her to return to her native Ukraine to see her distraught mother.
Duritskaya, 23, a Ukrainian model who is a key witness in Nemtsov's murder, said that she did not see the killer. "When I turned around I only saw a light-colored car, I didn't see its license plate or make," she told the Dozhd television station in an interview.
After the killing, Duritskaya, who is widely reported to have been in a relationship with the politician, said she called the police and they took her away from the crime scene to question her. Over the last three days she has continuously been questioned, and a lawyer and a Ukrainian consul were only allowed to see her several hours after the questioning began, she told Dozhd.
Duritskaya, who was born in the town of Bila Tserkva near Kiev, said she is staying at an apartment belonging to a friend of Nemtsov, with armed police guarding her at all times. "I gave all the testimony that I could, and I do not know why I am still on Russian territory," she said.
According to Duritskaya, the guards will not let her leave under threat of physical force. Investigators have told her that she will probably have to take a lie detector test, she added.
"They tell me that I have the right to leave the country, but they do not say why they physically keep me here," she told Ekho Moskvy radio station. In the interview with Dozhd she said the guards had told her they are not letting her leave Moscow for her own safety.
Duritskaya, who had known the politician for three years, has rejected theories aired in the tabloid press that jealousy could be the motive for the murder. She said she would not attend Nemtsov's funeral on Tuesday, without elaborating.
Nemtsov was shot four times in the back and head by an unidentified assailant while walking across the Bolshoi Moskvoretsky Bridge with Duritskaya after the two had been to Bosco Cafe on neighboring Red Square. Duritskaya was unharmed in the incident.