MOSCOW, May 30. /TASS/. The Kremlin strongly condemns the murder of Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko in Kiev and expects a genuine investigation into the crime, Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.
"A tragedy has happened - a Russian national died and his large family lost (their) breadwinner, so we offer condolences to his family and friends," he said. "We strongly condemn this murder and expect that there will be a real investigation, which will make it possible to establish those responsible, rather than smoke and mirrors," the Kremlin spokesman added.
He stressed that Ukraine had become a hazardous place for journalists, a fact that required a tough international response.
"Unfortunately, Ukraine has become a dangerous place for journalists lately," Peskov said. "We know that many journalists die there, others are expelled from the country or sent to prison for their professional activities. We believe that this unacceptable situation requires a tough international response that will make the Ukrainian authorities take effective measures to improve it," the Russian presidential spokesman stressed.
He also castigated Kiev’s allegations about Moscow’s “involvement” in the murder, branding it extreme cynicism and anti-Russian propaganda. "This is cynicism in the highest degree to indulge in such Russophobic ballyhoo instead of urging a thorough and impartial investigation," Peskov pointed out.
On Tuesday, journalist Arkady Babchenko was fatally gunned down at the entrance to his Kiev apartment and died on the way to the hospital. Head of the Kiev National Police's main department Andrei Krischenko said that Babchenko’s professional activities were being considered as the most likely cause of his homicide.
Babchenko was a Russian writer, journalist and war correspondent, who worked for Russia’s Moskovsky Komsomolets daily, as well as for the TV Tsentr and Channel One TV channels, and penned articles for the Novaya Gazeta newspaper. After leaving Russia in 2017, he first moved to the Czech Republic, then to Israel and eventually settled in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev in August 2017, where he hosted a show on the ATR Crimean Tatar TV channel.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavel Klimkin said later at the United Nations Security Council meeting that Kiev "has reasons to say that Russia dares to employ various tactics to destabilize the situation in Ukraine, including subversive activities and political killings." Russia’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Vasily Nebenzya said in response that the Kiev authorities sought to use Babchenko’s murder against Russia.