Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko shot dead in Kiev

The journalist and Kremlin critic was shot three times in the back, in what police believe to be a targeted shot 

Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko shot dead in Kiev
Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko shot dead in Kiev

Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko has been shot dead at his apartment in Kiev, in a high-profile murder.

Babchenko, 41, was found bleeding at the entrance to his block of flats by his wife, and died in an ambulance. He was shot three times in the back.

The killing appeared to be targeted and police said it may have been tied to his reporting. The gunman had apparently lain in wait for him outside his apartment.

The head of Ukraine’s police force said that two motives were being considered: his “professional work and civil position”. Police on Wednesday evening had not named a suspect, but did post a sketch of a bearded man in a baseball hat.

Babchenko had grown critical of the Russian government in recent years. He previously criticized Vladimir Putin’s annexation of Crimea and his support for the separatists of south-east Ukraine. He left Russia in February 2017, writing that it was “a country I no longer feel safe in”.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman described Babchenko as a "true friend of Ukraine, who was telling the world about Russian aggression".

"The killers should be punished," Groysman said.

Russia's foreign ministry said in a statement: "We demand that the Ukrainian authorities make every effort to promptly investigate" the killing.

The ministry also offered condolences to Babchenko's family and friends.

In his last Facebook post just hours before the attack, Babchenko recalled how lucky he was four years ago - exactly to the day.

He wrote that he had planned to fly with Ukrainian soldiers on a helicopter in the war zone in Ukraine's east.

He was not allowed on board, because there was not enough space. The helicopter was shot down by pro-Russian rebels, leaving 14 people dead.

"I was lucky. A second birthday, it turns out", Babchenko wrote.

Kiev has in recent years seen a number of deadly attacks on high-profile journalists and politicians. Most of them were critics of the Kremlin.

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