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Journalist Who Criticized Kremlin Shot Dead

Arkady Babchenko's wife found him at their apartment building
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 29, 2018 3:49 PM CDT
Police guard the front door of the multi-storey building where Russian opposition journalist Arkady Babchenko lived, in Kiev, Ukraine, Tuesday, May 29, 2018.   (AP Photo/Sergiy Nuzhnenko)
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(Newser) – A Russian journalist was shot and killed in the Ukrainian capital Tuesday, and the national police said he apparently was targeted because of his work, the AP reports. Ukrainian police said Arkady Babchenko's wife found him bleeding at their apartment building in Kiev and called an ambulance, but Babchenko died on the way to a hospital. Police said he died of multiple gunshots wounds to his back. "The first and the most obvious version is his professional activities," Kiev Police Chief Andriy Krishchenko said in televised comments. Babchenko, 41, served in the Russian army and fought during the first separatist war in Chechnya during the 1990s. He later became a journalist and worked as a military correspondent for several Russian media outlets. He also published several books based on his wartime experiences.

Harlem Desir, the media freedom representative at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, said he was "horrified" by Babchenko's death. Babchenko had been scathingly critical of the Kremlin's policies in recent years, assailing Moscow's annexation of Crimea, its support for separatist insurgents in eastern Ukraine, and the Russian campaign in Syria. Some of his articles and posts outraged many Russians. In one, he said he felt no regret about the deaths of Russian army choir members and others from a December 2016 plane crash as they were heading to perform before Russian troops in Syria. Some even called for stripping Babchenko of his Russian citizenship. Babchenko left Russia in February 2017, saying he was receiving threats and concerned he might be jailed. He moved to Kiev last fall, where he worked as a host for the Crimean Tatar TV station, ATR.

(Read more journalists killed stories.)

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