KIEV, Ukraine — A Russian journalist harshly critical of the Kremlin was shot and killed in the Ukrainian capital Tuesday, and the national police said they are assuming he was targeted because of his work.

Ukrainian police said Arkady Babchenko’s wife found him bleeding in their apartment building in Kiev and called an ambulance, but Babchenko died on the way to a hospital.

Police said he had multiple gunshot wounds in his back.

“The first and the most obvious version is his professional activities,” Kiev Police Chief Andriy Krishchenko said.

Harlem Desir, the media freedom representative at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, said he was “horrified” by Babchenko’s death and called for an immediate investigation.

The Committee to Protect Journalists in New York said on Twitter that “Ukrainian authorities should conduct a swift and thorough investigation” into Babchenko’s murder.

Babchenko, 41, was scathingly critical of the Kremlin’s policies, assailing Moscow’s annexation of Crimea, its support for separatist insurgents in eastern Ukraine and the Russian campaign in Syria.

Ukrainian and Russian officials immediately traded finger-pointing over his death.

Anton Gerashchenko, a Ukrainian lawmaker who serves as an adviser to the interior minister, said on Facebook that investigators would be looking at “Russian spy agencies’ efforts to get rid of those who are trying to tell the truth about what is going on in Russia and Ukraine.”

Gerashchenko said Babchenko’s killer was waiting for him on the staircase inside the journalist’s building and shot him in the back as he was going out to buy bread.

Ukrainian police released a sketch of a suspect based on witness descriptions of a gray-bearded man in his 40s.

Just hours before he was shot, Babchenko wrote on Facebook that he narrowly escaped death exactly four years ago when the Ukrainian military refused him transport on a helicopter that was shot down minutes later.

“I was lucky, it was my second birthday,” he wrote Tuesday.

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