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Russia demands Ukraine do its best to investigate killing of journalist Babchenko

The Russian Investigative Committee has launched a separate case
Police officers near Babchenko's home in Kiev EPA-EFE/STEPAN FRANKO
Police officers near Babchenko's home in Kiev

MOSCOW, May 29. /TASS/. Russia demands that the Ukrainian authorities do everything in their power to ensure a prompt investigation of the murder of the Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko, the Foreign Ministry said in a commentary.

"Reports from Kiev say a Russian citizen, journalist Arkady A. Babchenko was killed as a result of an armed assault in Kiev where he lived permanently," it said. "We demand the Ukrainian authorities do everything in their power for an immediate investigation. Also, we hope the relevant international agencies and NGOs will take the investigation process under their control."

The commentary noted an incessant rise of the level of physical violence against and killings of reporters in Ukraine, adding that investigations never led to the punishment of criminals.

"Bloody crimes and total impunity have turned into daily routine for the Kiev regime," the ministry said.

It voiced deep condolences to Babchenko’s family and friends.

Meanwhile, Russian ombudsperson Tatyana Moskalkova  said she planned to ask her Ukrainian counterpart to assume personal control over the investigation. 

"I ask Verkhovna Rada (Ukrainian Parliament - TASS) Commissioner for Human Rights Lyudmila Denisova to assume control over the investigation of the journalist’s murder to ensure an unbiased, thorough and fair probe," she told TASS.

International response

Harlem Desir, the OSCE's Representative for Freedom of the Media, has urged the Ukrainian authorities to do an immediate and full investigation. 

"Horrified by report that well-known Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko was shot and killed in his home in Kyiv [Kiev]," Desir twittered. "I call on Ukraine authorities to conduct an immediate and full investigation. My thoughts are with journalist's family."

The Ukrainian authorities should conduct a prompt and efficient investigation into the murder, the Committee to Protect Journalists’s Eurasia office said.

"We call on Ukrainian authorities to thoroughly, effectively, and independently investigate the killing of Arkady Babchenko, and to find all those responsible for this brutal, silencing crime," Nina Ognianova, CPJ Europe and Central Asia Program Coordinator, was quoted as saying in a Twitter statement.

Russian investigation

The murder will also be investigated by the Russian Investigative Committee, spokesperson Svetlana Petrenko told TASS.

"The Investigative Committee of Russia has launched a criminal case into the murder of Russian citizen Arkady Babchenko in Kiev," she said.

The spokeswoman said that several Russian citizens have been killed in Ukraine in the past several years.

"The Russian Investigative Committee is not going to ignore brutal crimes against Russian citizens," she said.

Babchenko's murder

Arkady Babchenko, 41, was shot and killed in his home in Kiev on Tuesday night. He died on the way to hospital.

Andrei Krishchenko, the chief of Kiev branch of the national police said the investigators were considering Babchenko’s professional activity as the prime motive behind the murder.

At various times in his career, the journalist has cooperated with the Moskovsky Komsomolets tabloid, the Moscow-based TVC channel where he was a contributor to the Post Scriptum analysis show, and Channel One Russia [the Army Shop show]. He also wrote for Novaya Gazeta liberal daily.

Babchenko left Russia in 2017, moving first to the Czech Republic, then to Israel and afterwards to Kiev. He hosted a show at the Crimean Tatar channel ATR.