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29 May, 2018 19:01

Russian journalist Arkadiy Babchenko killed in Kiev

Russian journalist Arkadiy Babchenko killed in Kiev

Arkadiy Babchenko, a Russian citizen and journalist living in Ukraine, has been killed in the Ukrainian capital.

The man, who sustained a gunshot wound, was found in his own apartment by his wife, who called the emergency services, the police said. 

The police believe his journalistic activities are the main motive behind the killing, but will investigate other versions as well, Kiev police chief Andrey Krischenko told Interfax-Ukraine news agency.

“The first and the most evident version is his professional activities,” the official said, adding that Babchenko’s “personal life and conflicts not related to the professional area” will be investigated.

The police have already ruled out suicide, Krischenko said. Ukraine’s Interior Ministry has released a drawing of the suspect sought in connection with Babchenko’s murder.

Ukrainian law enforcement have opened a criminal case over the journalist’s murder, according to the police press service. In the meantime, the Russian Investigative Committee has launched its own investigation into Babchenko’s death. Russia’s high commissioner for human rights, Tatiana Moskalkova,  promised to address Ukrainian authorities, urging them to pay special attention to the investigation of the journalist’s murder.

Babchenko was a veteran war correspondent who worked for a number of media outlets over the years. Prior to his career in journalism, he fought in Russian Army ranks during the two conflicts in Russia’s Chechnya region. Babchenko soon grew critical of the Russian government and participated in opposition movements. He left Russia in February 2017, citing concerns over his personal safety. The journalist eventually settled in Ukraine, taking the job as a host with the ATR TV channel.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry condemned the murder and urged Ukraine’s authorities, international bodies and NGOs to monitor the investigation closely. The ministry also underlined the alarming level of violence against journalists in Ukraine.

“The degree of physical violence, murders of media workers in this country is growing steadily, while investigations do not result in punishment of perpetrators. Violent crimes and total impunity have become routine for the Kiev regime. We urge the Ukrainian authorities to do their best to make the investigation swift,” the Ministry said in a statement, extending condolences to relatives of the slain journalist.

The murder of Babchenko has become the latest incident in the string of killings of journalists in Ukraine. Back in July 2016, renowned Russian journalist Pavel Sheremet was killed in downtown Kiev when his car blew up. The official investigation into Sheremet’s murder has not yielded any tangible results yet, while top Ukrainian officials alleged involvement of Russia’s secret services. Independent investigations, however, have pointed fingers at Ukraine’s own Security Service (SBU).

In April 2015, Oles Buzina, another prominent journalist who was critical of Ukraine’s authorities, was shot dead in Kiev. Several suspects, linked to far-right movements, have been detained in connection with the murder. The investigation of the incident has stalled and the court hearings have not yet concluded.

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