A prominent Russian journalist and vocal critic of President Vladimir Putin has died after being shot in Kiev, Ukraine’s capital. Ukrainian police said on Tuesday Arkady Babchenko succumbed to his wounds on his way to the hospital. His wife found him earlier bleeding at their apartment building and called an ambulance.
The 41-year-old had multiple gunshot wounds on his back. Police investigating Babchenko’s killing said they suspect the crime is linked to his work. “The leading and obvious line of inquiry is that of his professional activities,” Andriy Kryshchenko, Kiev police chief, told Interfax Ukraine news agency.
Babchenko, one of Russia’s best-known war correspondents, left his country in February 2017, saying he was receiving threats and he was concerned he might be jailed.
He served in the Russian army during the first separatist war in Chechnya during the 1990s and later became a journalist. He worked as a military correspondent for several Russian media outlets.
In the autumn, Babchenko moved to Kiev, where he worked as a host for the Crimean Tatar TV station, ATR.
Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman said in a social media posting late on Tuesday that he was convinced “the Russian totalitarian machine” had not forgiven Babchenko for what Groysman called his honesty.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov rejected allegations that Moscow was behind the murder of the journalist, calling it part of an anti-Russian campaign, the TASS news agency reported.
Alexander Bortnikov, head of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB), said Ukrainian allegations the FSB was behind the killing of Babchenko were nonsense and a provocation, the Interfax news agency reported on Wednesday