MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has rejected Ukraine’s allegation that Moscow was behind Tuesday’s murder of a Russian dissident journalist in Kiev, Russia’s state news agency TASS reported.
Arkady Babchenko, a critic of President Vladimir Putin, was shot dead in the Ukrainian capital on Tuesday where he lived in exile. He fled Russia after he received threats for saying he did not mourn the victims of a Russian defense ministry plane crash in 2016.
Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman said in a social media posting late on Tuesday he was convinced that what he called “the Russian totalitarian machine” had not forgiven Babchenko for what Groysman called his honesty.
Lavrov, who called Babchenko’s killing a tragedy, said the allegation was nonsense and a continuation of what he called Kiev’s anti-Russian course.
“…The investigation has not even started and the prime minister of the Ukrainian government has already announced that the Russian intelligence services did it,” TASS cited Lavrov as saying.
Groysman’s accusations were a matter of regret, Lavrov was quoted as saying.
Babchenko’s murder was the fourth of a Kremlin critic in the Ukrainian capital in two years. None of the other murders, which Kiev has also blamed on Russia, have been solved.
Reporting by Andrew Osborn and Maria Kiselyova; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky