Prominent Ukrainian politician dies from COVID-19 complications

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FILE PHOTO: File photo of Gennady Kernes, the pro-Russian mayor of Kharkiv

KYIV (Reuters) - One of Ukraine's best known veteran politicians, Gennady Kernes, died in Germany in the early hours of Thursday from complications caused by the coronavirus, local authorities and members of his family said.

Mayor of the largest eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, Kernes, 61, went into politics after making his fortune in the post-communist 1990s.

After protesters toppled pro-Moscow Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych in 2014, he supported calls for Kharkiv to become independent from Kyiv's pro-European leaders.

In 2014, Kernes, one of Ukraine's most prominent Jewish politicians, was shot in the back by an unknown assailant. After the assassination attempt, he used a wheelchair.

He contracted coronavirus in September, and was later moved to a German hospital.

(Reporting by Pavel Polityuk; Editing by Alexandra Hudson)