Moscow: To catch a final glimpse of the Russian opposition leader and Putin critic Boris Nemtsov, thousands of relatives and supporters queued past his open coffin to pay their respects as his body was lying in state at Moscow's Sakharov centre.
Nemtsov, a very vociferous critic of President Vladimir Putin, was killed with four bullets to his back on Friday night while he was walking with his Ukrainian girlfriend across a bridge near the Kremlin.
Nemtsov's body has been lying in state since 0700 GMT at the Andrei Sakharov rights centre and mourners have been filing past his body to pay final respects.
Among those who viewed him were US Ambassador John Tefft and former prime minister Mikhail Kasyanov, who has gone into opposition. Russian deputy prime ministers Sergei Prikhodko and Arkady Dvorkovich also attended, according to Russian news reports.
His funeral will be held in the afternoon at Troekurovskoye cemetery in Moscow.
According to a BBC report, several EU politicians and Russia's opposition leaders have been denied the permission to attend his funeral.
In what is an apparent retaliation to EU sanctions on Russia, Moscow has barred many officials from Poland and Latvia to enter Russia.
According to an AFP report, Polish Senate speaker Bogdan Borusewicz was refused entry by Moscow in reprisal for EU sanctions against Russia`s upper house of parliament speaker Valentina Matviyenko, the Polish foreign ministry said.
Latvian MEP Sandra Kalniete told AFP she had also been refused entry into Russia at Moscow`s Sheremetyevo airport, but was not given a reasonable explanation for the ban.
Also, Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was not allowed to leave jail, where he is serving a 15-day sentence.
Nemtsov's killing has deeply shaken Russia's small and marginalized opposition movement. Many opposition supporters suspect the killing was ordered by the Kremlin in retaliation for his ardent criticism of President Vladimir Putin, while authorities have suggested several possible motives including a provocation aimed at tarnishing Putin's image.
Many commentators said that like other key opposition leaders, Nemtsov was constantly shadowed by police, so it would be hard to imagine his killing could go unnoticed by them.
Some noted that Nemtsov died on the newly established holiday commemorating the Special Operations Forces, honoring troops who swept through Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula, setting stage for its annexation by Russia a year ago.
Nemtsov's killing was the biggest political assassination in Russia since another Kremlin foe, journalist Anna Politkovskaya, was shot to death in the elevator of her Moscow apartment building on Putin's birthday in 2006.
With Agency Inputs