"Murdered" Russian Journalist Shows Up at Press Conference

His criticisms attracted the fury of pro-Kremlin officials and activists, as well as state media, and for years he endured regular abuse and threats. The day before his death, Babchenko published a post on Facebook with a photograph of a military helicopter on which he said he had been invited to fly during fighting in eastern Ukraine in early 2014 but from which had been ordered off at the last minute.

Babchenko, a prominent war correspondent, was extremely critical of Russia's annexation of Crimea, and was forced to flee Russian Federation in February 2017 because of threats to him and his family.

In early 2017, after spending years fearing he would be arrested, beaten, or worse, Babchenko left Russian Federation.

It not immediately clear whether Babchenko's wife and friend were aware of the security operation. Russian authorities denied any involvement in the murder, with Lavrov criticizing the Ukrainian prime minister for trying to blame Russian secret services.

During an interview with Israeli journalist Lisa Rozowski in 2017, Babchenko provided a humorous reason for his fierce determination to oppose the current Russian administration.

"The first and the most probable theory is his professional activity", Kiev police chief Andriy Kryshchenko said.

In a controversial 2016 Facebook post, Babchenko wrote he had "no sympathy or pity" for the victims of a plane crash carrying Russia's Red Army choir to Syria given Moscow's support for Bashar al-Assad.

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"It was him who did for Novaya Gazeta the best reportages from the war in South Ossetia", the newspaper wrote in an editorial, calling him a "true artist".

"I want to say sorry for what you felt".

The murder was faked in Babchenko's apartment in Kyiv.

The killing was the most recent murder of a high-profile dissident in Kiev, a city that has become a refuge for some of Moscow's most vehement critics, as well as the scene of targeted assassinations that have remained unsolved for years.

Two years ago Pavel Sheremet, a Belarussian journalist known for his criticism of his home country's leadership and his friendship with the slain Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov, was blown up in a auto bomb in central Kiev.

This year, Babchenko moved to Kiev, where he worked as a host for the Crimean Tatar TV station, ATR. "The organizer was talking about killing another 30 people in Ukraine".

Often critical of political leaders, he had received threats and been harassed on several occasions.

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