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An unidentified gunman shot dead a prominent Russian journalist in Ukraine on Tuesday, likely for his professional activities, the Kiev police said.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman said in a social media posting late on Tuesday he was convinced what he called "the Russian totalitarian machine" had not forgiven Mr. Babchenko for what Mr. Groysman called his honesty.

Reports said that his wife found him in their apartment in Kiev, Ukraine, with multiple gunshot wounds in his back.

Babchenko, one of Russia's best-known war reporters, fled the country in February 2017 after receiving death threats. He became the target of pro-government politicians in Russian Federation after he criticised the country's policy in Ukraine and Syria. In 2017, he said he wanted to live for another 160 years and "die somewhere in the Mariner Valley on Mars", referring to the largest canyon in the Solar System.

Harlem Desir, the media freedom representative at the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, said he was "horrified" by Babchenko's death. They said the killing may relate to his work.

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Babchenko's death follows those of prominent Russian journalist Pavel Sheremet, killed in a auto bomb in Kiev in 2016, and ex-Russian lawmaker Denis Voronenkov, who was shot dead in the city in 2017.

"From Babchenko's position, even his Moscow colleagues looked this way: weak, conformist, inclined to endless compromises", Russian journalist Yury Saprykin wrote on Meduza, an independent news site.

He wrote on Facebook: "Putin's regime takes aim at those who can not be broken or intimidated".

He had reportedly been shot three times in the back.

Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko, whose reported death was worldwide news on Tuesday night, has appeared at a televised press conference.

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"Bloody crimes and total impunity have become routine for the Kiev regime", it said on Facebook.

The Investigative Committee of Russian Federation said it had opened a criminal case into Babchenko's death. The incident killed all 92 passengers on board, including the members of a renowned Russian military choir and several staffers for state news agencies.

In early 2017, after spending years fearing he would be arrested, beaten, or worse, Babchenko left Russian Federation. Russian authorities again denied any connection with the plane's downing over an area of Ukraine held by pro-Russian separatist forces.

But in Moscow, Russia's Investigative Committee distanced the Kremlin from the killing - saying it had launched its own criminal investigation into Babchenko's death. The helicopter was overloaded and he was not permitted to fly.

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