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Kazakh government critic in hospital after being shot in Kyiv

By Radina Gigova and Olga Voitovych, CNN

(CNN) — A Kazakh government critic with a following of more than 1 million subscribers on YouTube survived an assassination attempt in central Kyiv, his wife and Ukrainian authorities said Wednesday.

Journalist Aydos Sadykov, head of the opposition online media BӘCE and strong critic of the government of President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, is in hospital after a gunman ran to his car on Tuesday, shot him and fled, according to the Office of Ukraine’s Prosecutor General.

“Today in Kyiv, near his own house, an attempt was made on Aydos Sadykov’s life,” Sadykov’s wife, Natalya Sadykova, who was also in the car, said in a Facebook post after the assault.

Kazakhstan is ruled by autocrat Tokayev, who has previously adopted violent methods to maintain order. In 2022, he faced the biggest challenge to his leadership when public anger over a spike in fuel prices erupted into wider protests over corruption, unemployment and poverty in the oil-rich former Soviet nation. To squash the unrest, Tokayev ordered security forces to “kill without warning.”

Law enforcement officers are working to identify Sadykov’s attacker, the Ukrainian Prosecutor General’s Office said Wednesday.

“The attempted murder took place in the Shevchenkivskyi district of the capital near the house where the couple live,” it said. “The man is currently in hospital in serious condition.”

Sadykov and his wife, also a journalist, have been living in Ukraine since 2014 and have “refugee status,” the Prosecutor General’s Office said.

In another Facebook post on Wednesday, Sadykova said the shooting was “brutal” and “cynical,” and happened “in broad daylight” in front of witnesses.

“This happened when Aydos drove into the yard of our house. I was sitting next to him in the passenger seat,” she said. “Now Aydos has been operated on, he is in intensive care in serious condition. Please pray that he survives.”

Sadykova accused President Tokayev of being behind the assassination attempt and said her husband “has always defended the interests of the Kazakhs.”

CNN has reached out to Natalya Sadykova for further comment.

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