Journalist and Putin-Critic Murdered in Kiev, Ukrainian Officials Blame Russia

Anti-Putin journalist who was declared dead shows up at news briefing in Ukraine | TheHill

The journalist group's director, Christophe Deloire, expressed on Twitter his "deepest indignation at the discovery of the manipulation of the Ukrainian secret services".

Kiev and national police had said Mr Babchenko, a strong critic of the Kremlin, was shot multiple times in the back at his apartment building and found bleeding by his wife.

Before ushering Babchenko into the room for the big reveal, Gritsak said investigators had identified a Ukrainian citizen who allegedly was paid $40,000 by the Russian security service to organize and carry out the hit.

He first moved to Prague and later to the Ukrainian capital.

Opposition politician and former MP Ilya Ponomaryov, who now lives in Kiev, said he feared other Kremlin critics would be murdered in the future.

He has hosted a programme on the Crimean Tatar TV station ATR for the past year.

Speaking to the BBC, Ukrainian police spokesman Yaroslav Trakalo confirmed Mr Babchenko's death. He described his experience in the Chechen conflicts - which saw Moscow suppress a separatist insurgency in the North Caucasus - in a book published in English under the title "One Soldier's War".

Kyiv police chief Andriy Krishchenko said in televised comments late on May 29 that police were assuming Babchenko was targeted for his work.

A criminal investigation is now under way.

Russia's foreign ministry said it was "glad" Babchenko was still alive, but also said the story had a "propaganda effect", according to Russian news agency Interfax.

"The killers should be punished", Mr Groysman said. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said the killing was "an act of state terrorism on the part of Russian Federation".

"I should have offered my condolences to the family, but on the contrary, I want to greet them".

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

He was not allowed on board, because there was not enough space. 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.

In late 2017, Babchenko wrote for The Guardian, saying: "I can tell you what political harassment feels like in [President Vladimir] Putin's Russian Federation".

Arkadiy Babchenko is the Russian journalist, war-time correspondent and the writer.

"Special apologies to my wife Olechka", Babchenko told reporters, according to the Guardian.

This was in part because several prominent Russian journalists critical of Putin's policies have been murdered in recent years.

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