Prominent Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko shot, killed in Kiev

30 May, 2018, 18:26 | Author: Julian Swanson
  • Russian journalist Babchenko, critic of Kremlin, shot dead in Ukraine

"According to information received by the Ukrainian security service, the killing of Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko was ordered by the Russian security services themselves", the Ukrainian agency's chief Vasyl Grytsak told a news conference.

Ukraine and Russia traded accusations on Wednesday after a dissident Russian journalist and Kremlin critic was shot dead in Kiev, in a killing that sent shivers through the journalistic communities in both countries.

Authorities announced on Tuesday that Babchenko's wife discovered him with gunshot wounds at their apartment and he died en route to a Kiev hospital.

In a post to Facebook just hours after news of Babchenko's death emerged, Prime Minister Volodymyr Hroysman said, "I am convinced that the Russian totalitarian machine could not forgive his honesty and principled position".

Babchenko left Russia in 2017, facing calls for his citizenship to be revoked and a growing number of threats for voicing his indifference to a December 2016 plane crash that killed a Russian military choir en route to Syria to perform for air force pilots.

A senior State Duma deputy has stated that, since Russia can not prevent attacks on journalists in Ukraine, it would be better if all Russian reporters left the country.

He appeared at a press conference in Ukraine this morning after his reported "death" yesterday.

Ukrainian parliamentary deputy Anton Herashchenko, who is also an aide to the interior minister, said Babchenko had just returned home from a nearby grocery store and was opening his apartment door when an assailant waiting in the stairwell shot him multiple times in the back.

While studying law in Moscow aged 18, Mr Babchenko was conscripted into the Russian army and served during the Chechen wars from 1994-2000.

Babchenko worked for a local Ukrainian TV channel and continued to report threats to his life. Babchenko was known for his opposition to the Kremlin and fled to Ukraine after facing a criminal probe at home for posting calls to attack police, during protest rallies, on his blog.

This past March, Babchenko spoke at "Putincon" in New York City, a conference featuring a number of Putin critics on the eve of the 2018 presidential election in Russian Federation. Ukrainian authorities released a drawing of the man they suspect is Babchenko's assassin, around 40-45 years old, with a grey beard and wearing a cap. "Now, for the most part, the people that Russians hate-it's all of you".

"I am outraged by this horrific act", Desir said in an earlier statement.

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