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Russian journalist Babchenko, critic of Kremlin, shot dead in Ukraine

A file picture provided on May 29, 2018 shows Russian journalist Arkadiy Babchenko on November 14, 2017 in Kiev. – A Russian journalist who wrote for opposition media was shot dead on May 28, 2018 in Kiev, Ukrainian police said. Arkadi Babchenko was shot in his apartment building in the Ukrainian capital. (Photo by Vitaliy NOSACH / AFP) (Photo credit should read VITALIY NOSACH/AFP/Getty Images)

Prominent Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko, a critic of Russian actions in Ukraine and Syria, has been shot and killed in Kiev, Ukraine officials said late Tuesday.

Ukrainian state news agency Ukrinform said Babchenko was shot in the back, at his home, and died in an ambulance. It cited his friend and supervisor, Ayder Muzhdabaev, deputy general manager of Ukrainian TV channel ATR.

Babchenko left Russia in 2017, saying he no longer felt safe there.

He wrote about his experience suffering “political harassment in Putin’s Russia,” in an essay published by the Guardian in 2017. He recounted writing about the Russian bombing of Aleppo, Syria, killing civilians.

Police in Kiev, Ukraine’s capital, said Babchenko’s wife found him outside their apartment.

The Russian Foreign Ministry blamed Ukraine for what it called an “armed assault.”

In a statement, the Russian ministry said, “The level of physical violence and murders of the media workers in this country (Ukraine) has been growing consistently and the investigations do not result in the punishment of the criminals.”

It said independent groups should lead an investigation.