An unidentified gunman shot dead a prominent Russian journalist in Ukraine on Tuesday, likely for his professional activities, the Kiev police said. Arkady Babchenko was living in Ukraine since February 2017 after facing threats in his country. The 41-year-old was known to be a critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Babchenko died of his wounds in an ambulance after his wife found him covered in blood at their home, police said, according to Reuters.
“The first and the most probable theory is his professional activity,” Kiev police chief Andriy Kryshchenko said. The police have released a drawing of the suspected murderer. They are unable to speak to Babchenko’s wife as she is in a state of shock.
Anton Gerashchenko, a Ukrainian lawmaker, wrote on Facebook that Babchenko had gone to a shop to buy some bread, but someone waiting for him near the entrance of his home shot him in the back several times. “Putin’s regime takes aim at those who cannot be broken or intimidated,” he wrote.
“Today in Kiev, famous Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko was shot and killed on the threshold of the apartment where he lived, He was a consistent opponent of the Putin regime and a friend of Ukraine,” he said.
Babchenko was a former soldier and one of Russia’s best-known war correspondents. He became the target of pro-government politicians in Russia after he criticised the country’s policy in Ukraine and Syria.
The Russian foreign ministry responded by saying that journalists were being killed with impunity in Ukraine. “Bloody crimes and total impunity have become routine for the Kiev regime,” said the ministry. “We demand that the Ukrainian authorities make every effort to promptly investigate.”