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Russian journalist and Putin critic Arkady Babchenko shot dead in Kiev

Russian journalist and Putin critic Arkady Babchenko shot dead in Kiev

Ukrainian officials cast accusations against the Kremlin on Tuesday after prominent Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko was shot and killed in Kiev. Investigators from Australia and the Netherlands last week blamed Russian Federation for the tragedy.

Who was Arkady Babchenko?

Arkady Babchenko, who moved to the city a year ago following threats in his homeland, was sacked on after returning from buying bread and died of his injuries in an ambulance, local police said late Tuesday.

"The first and the most probable version is his professional activity", Kiev police chief Andriy Kryshchenko said at a televised press briefing when asked what police suspected was behind the murder.

Kyiv police spokeswoman Oksana Blyshchyk said police received an emergency call on May 29 from doctors who said a woman called them to say she had "found her husband at home in a pool of blood".

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".

Investigators will look at "Russian spy agencies' efforts to get rid of those who are trying to tell the truth about what is going on in Russia and Ukraine", Mr Gerashchenko said. He accused Ukraine and its "Western handlers" of seeking to use it to stir up anti-Russian feeling, saying it followed a familiar pattern of using such assassinations to frame Russia. "This fashion of conducting worldwide affairs is very sad", Lavrov told reporters. "But, as you see, it suits many people, especially those, like our Ukrainian neighbors, who are taking advantage of the complete impunity coming from their Western handlers". In March 2017, Denis Voronenko, a former pro-Kremlin Russian MP who had defected to Ukraine, was gunned down in broad daylight in front of a hotel in central Kiev.

Babchenko fought in Russia's two Chechen campaigns in the 1990s and early 2000s before becoming a war correspondent and author.

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He had emerged as a bitter online critic of the Putin government in recent years, posting regular blogs attacking the Kremlin on his Facebook page.

He left Russian Federation in February 2017, saying he was receiving threats and concerned he might be jailed.

He fled Russia in 2017 after provoking a scandal in a Facebook post that expressed indifference over the deaths of a military choir and other passengers aboard a Russian plane that crashed en route to Syria. The Kremlin's response to the post was explosive; soon Russian lawmakers and state media were calling for Babchenko's fining, prosecution, and deportation.

Harlem Désir, the media freedom representative at the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, said he was horrified by Babchenko's death.

"Arkasha would shoot straight from the hip every day in such a brazen manner that even those close to him felt uneasy sometimes", wrote Pavel Kanygin, a journalist for Novaya Gazeta, referring to Babchenko by his nickname.

He wrote in a piece for The Guardian that this forced him to leave "a country I no longer feel safe in".

He first moved to Prague and later to the Ukrainian capital.

In Ukraine, Babchenko worked for the Crimean Tatar television network, ATR, and reported frequently on Russia's support for separatist militants in eastern Ukraine.


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