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Prominent Russian journalist who criticised Kremlin shot dead in Kiev

30 May 2018

Ukrainian national police in Kiev have confirmed that Arkady Babchenko, a Russian journalist who had fled Putin's Russia for the security of Kiev, has been shot multiple times in the back and killed by an unknown assailant as he was returning from the grocery store.

Kiev police chief Andriy Kryshchenko also told the media they suspected Mr Babchenko was killed due to his "professional activities".

A former war correspondent, he worked in Kiev as a presenter on Ukraine's channel ATR TV.

Ukrainian lawmaker Anton Herashchneko said the journalist went out to buy some bread, and that the killer was waiting for him near his flat. Babchenko died in the back of the ambulance.

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The Committee to Protect Journalists in NY said on Twitter that "Ukrainian authorities should conduct a swift and thorough investigation" into the murder.

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

Ukrainian authorities released a drawing of the man they suspect is Babchenko's assassin, around 40-45 years old, with a grey beard and wearing a cap.

He was not allowed on board, because there was not enough space. Ukrainian prosecutors alleged that Voronenkov, who had toed the Kremlin line while serving as a Russian lawmaker but turned into a Kremlin critic after his 2016 move to Ukraine, was killed on orders from a Russian crime lord.

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Babchenko left Russian Federation in February 2017, saying he was receiving threats and concerned that he might be jailed.

Drafted to the army in the mid 1990s at the age 18 while he was a law student in Moscow, Babchenko came of age amid the horrors of Russia's blood-drenched war against Chechnya. 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. His wrenching and unremitingly critical memoir of that war, One Soldier's War, became the main literary classic response to the Chechen conflict, and conferred upon him both celebrity and widespread criticism from state-owned media and patriotic politicians.

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

He then became a journalist, working for a number of different outlets. Majority were vociferous critics of the Kremlin.

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Prominent Russian journalist who criticised Kremlin shot dead in Kiev