Anti-Kremlin Russian journalist shot and killed in Ukraine

Stringer.  Reuters

Stringer. Reuters

Arkady Babchenko, the Russian opposition journalist reportedly shot dead in the Ukrainian capital, has appeared alive and well at a news conference in Kiev.

He went on to thank the Ukrainian Security Service, the SBU, for saving his life and said the most important thing was that what he called other big acts of terror had been thwarted.

The national police said Babchenko, 41, who fled Russian Federation past year, was shot a number of times in his back and was found by his wife. After emergency services arrived, Babchenko was taken to the hospital but died en route.

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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.

The 41-year-old was scathingly critical of the Kremlin's policies, assailing Moscow's annexation of Crimea, its support for separatist insurgents in eastern Ukraine and the Russian campaign in Syria.

"When Arkady opened the door to his the apartment, the murderer made several shots in the back of Arkady Babchenko", Gerashchenko wrote in his Facebook blog.

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He had been denounced by pro-government politicians in Russia over comments on social media about the Russian bombing of Syria, and over his characterization of Russia as an aggressor toward Ukraine. He said that the attacker shot Babchenko in the back as he stepped out of his apartment to buy bread. The Kremlin's response to the post was explosive; soon Russian lawmakers and state media were calling for Babchenko's fining, prosecution, and deportation. "Now, for the most part, the people that Russians hate-it's all of you". He left Russian Federation in February 2017, saying he was receiving threats and concerned he might be jailed. In one particularly controversial article, he said he did not feel any sadness for the deaths of Russian army choir members in a December 2016 plane crash.

He moved to Kyiv last fall, where he worked as a host for the Crimean Tatar TV station, ATR.

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