Russian journalist critical of Kremlin shot dead in Ukraine

30 May, 2018, 23:31 | Author: Donna Miller
  • Sergei Bobylev  TASS

Investigators from Australia and the Netherlands last week blamed Russian Federation for the tragedy.

Mr Babchenko, a high-profile critic of of the Kremlin, appeared at a press conference on Ukrainian television on Wednesday.

"Special apologies to my wife", Babchenko said at the press conference, according to BBC. Babchenko is a ferocious critic of the Kremlin.

Arkady Babchenko died on the way to hospital after his wife found him bleeding at their apartment building in Kiev.

Police said Tuesday they believed Babchenko was likely targeted because of his work, and earlier Wednesday, they even released a sketch of the suspected killer, an unnamed bearded man between 40 and 45 years old. Ukrainian Prime Minister Vladimir Groisman wrote on Facebook that he was "sure the Russian totalitarian machine had not forgiven" Babchenko "his honesty and principles".

Vasily Gritsak, head of the Ukrainian Security Service, told reporters that the agency faked Mr Babchenko's death to catch those who are trying to kill him.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov complained Wednesday that his country is being accused without proof, calling the killing "a tragedy".

After news broke of his apparent death, Moscow and Kiev began blaming each other for what happened. "Now, for the most part, the people that Russians hate-it's all of you".

A number of Kremlin critics have been killed in Ukraine in recent years, with one gunned down on a Kiev street in broad daylight and another whose vehicle exploded.

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Anti-Putin Russian journalist shot dead in Ukraine capital
He was gunned down on Tuesday by someone waiting for him in the stairwell at the entrance to his home. Investigators from Australia and the Netherlands last week blamed Russian Federation for the tragedy.

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In March 2017, renegade Russian MP Denis Voronenkov was shot and killed at the entrance of an upscale hotel in Kiev.

Just hours before his staged death, Babchenko wrote on Twitter about his fortune back in 2014, when he was refused travel on a Ukrainian military helicopter. He said Ukrainian law enforcement had been aware of a contract on his head for two months.

Kiev Police Chief Andrei Krishchenko told the press that "the first and most obvious" possible motive for the killing was Babchenko's work that's always been critical of the Russian president.

Moscow's annexation of Crimea and support for separatist insurgents in eastern Ukraine were topics on which the journalist was scathingly critical of the Kremlin.

His criticisms attracted the fury of pro-Kremlin officials and activists, as well as state media, and for years he endured regular abuse and threats.

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

Babchenko sparked a backlash in Russia for his comments in a 2016 Facebook post on a Russian military plane crash.

At the event, he also shared his fears prior to leaving Russian Federation, comments that would prove to be eerily prescient given Tuesday's shooting outside his home: "For years I thought I'd be arrested", Babchenko said then. He said his comments, in which he said he "didn't give a damn" about the incident, had resulted in thousands of threats, his home address being published online and calls for him to be deported.

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