Arkady Babchenko reveals he faked his death to thwart Moscow plot

31 May, 2018, 20:30 | Author: Christina Harvey
  • Aug. 9 2013 Arkady Babchenko 41 who had been scathingly critical of the Kremlin in recent years looks at an opposition picket in Moscow Russia. Police in the capital of Ukraine say a Russian journalist has been shot

Vasily Gritsak, head of the Ukrainian Security Service, has told reporters the agency faked Mr Babchenko's death to catch those who were trying to kill him.

A dissident Russian journalist who was reported murdered in Kiev dramatically reappeared alive on Wednesday in the middle of a briefing about his own killing by the Ukrainian state security service.

"Of course now, I would have to express my deep condolences to the family of Arkady Babchenko", said Vasyl Hrytsak, head of the SBU.

Babchenko is a well-known war correspondent in Russian Federation.

Many politicians and observers including Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin suggested Russia wanted to sow chaos in the country - already wracked by a four-year conflict with pro-Russian rebels in the east - ahead of presidential and parliamentary elections next year. A few hours after his stunning appearance, Babchenko triumphantly took to Twitter to say he will live to the age of 96 and dance on the grave of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

A video on social media shows Babchenko's newsroom colleagues cheering and applauding as he suddenly appears on the TV screen.

Babchenko, one of Russia's best-known war correspondents, left his country in February 2017, saying he was receiving threats and he was concerned he might be jailed. He also said that a Ukrainian national, now detained, had planned to go to Russian Federation via a third country upon completing the contract.

Reporters Without Borders, a free press advocacy group, condemned the faking of Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko's death in an attempt to gather information on the Kremlin's alleged attempts on his life, as the nonprofit said "there can be no grounds for faking a journalist's death".

"I will congratulate his family and all of us and Arkady Babchenko on his birthday".

The Ukrainian security service also said that Russian Federation intelligence paid an assassin $30,000 to carry out the hit, and that the would-be assassin had been apprehended.

Babchenko served in the Russian army and fought during the first separatist war in Chechnya during the 1990s. He had faced political harassment after writing a Facebook post critical of Russia's military action in Syria and describing the "indifference" he felt upon learning of a plane crash that killed members of a famous military choir.

It was widely reported that Babchenko had been shot three times outside his apartment in Kiev on 29 May, having been out to buy groceries.

Ukrainian authorities had released a drawing of the man they suspect is Babchenko's assassin, around 40-45 years old, with a grey beard and wearing a cap.

He fled Russian Federation in 2017 after receiving death threats over a post he made on social media. "Second birthday, it turns out", he wrote.



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