Anti-Kremlin Russian journalist shot and killed in Ukraine

Anti-Kremlin Russian journalist shot and killed in Ukraine

Arkady Babchenko, one of Russia's most prominent war reporters and a fierce Kremlin critic, had moved to Ukraine because of threats against him at home.

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.

Babchenko thanked the SBU for "saving his life", and apologised unreservedly to his partner who reportedly found him in a pool of blood after he'd been shot.

One person is reportedly in Ukrainian custody, but the news has prompted confusion in Ukraine and a backlash from Russian Federation which was widely accused of ordering Babchenko murder.

Vasily Gritsak, chief of the SBU, said investigators have nabbed a Ukrainian man who was recruited by Russia's security service and paid $40,000 to kill Babchenko.

Babchenko left Russian Federation previous year after he said he received a slew of death threats for his reporting. "Olechka, I am sorry, but there were no options here".

"I apologize to my wife".

Russia's foreign ministry said it was "glad" Babchenko was still alive, but also said the story had a "propaganda effect", according to Russian news agency Interfax.

Ukrainian authorities blamed Russia's "totalitarian machine" for his murder, while Moscow denied the charges and the Kremlin warned that Kiev had become "a very unsafe place" for journalists.

"I'd like to draw your attention to Russia's ongoing aggression in Ukraine".




A well-known Kremlin critic, he stood in unofficial elections organised by the opposition in 2012 and denounced Russia's actions in Syria and eastern Ukraine.

Babchenko, 41, had been a prominent war correspondent in Russian Federation, but had fled the country in February 2017 out of fear for his safety.

Babchenko was killed less than a month after Putin was inaugurated for his 4th Kremlin term and as Russian Federation gears up to host the World Cup later this month.

In a social media post soon after news of his death emerged, the Ukrainian Prime Minister, Vladimir Groysman, said it held Russian Federation responsible.

Babchenko was well-known for his criticism of the Kremlin.

Russia's Investigative Committee said in an online statement late on Tuesday that it had launched a murder investigation into Babchenko's death.

Vyacheslav Volodin, speaker of the State Duma, told Russian news agencies Wednesday that Russia would be happy to help with the investigation if Ukrainian authorities requested it.

Authorities in Ukraine are still investigating the killing of journalist Pavel Sheremet in a car-bomb blast in central Kyiv in July 2016.

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

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