Wednesday, 12 December, 2018

'Murdered' journalist appears alive at news conference

Anti-Putin journalist who was declared dead shows up at news briefing in Ukraine | TheHill BREAKING: 'Murdered' Russian journalist alive; death staged to flush out assassins
| 02 June, 2018, 03:46

Ukraine said it had foiled a plot to kill Kremlin critic Arkady Babchenko, who was declared murdered and then later turned up alive in the middle of a press briefing about the killing.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko tweeted his congratulations to the Ukrainian Security Service and said he had given an order to provide Babchenko and his family with protection.

"Before ushering Babchenko into the room, Gritsak said investigators had identified a Ukrainian citizen who had been recruited and paid $40,000 by the Russian security service to organize and carry out the killing".

Arkady Babchenko, Russian journalist and Kremlin critic, was murdered last night.

Police in Kiev, Ukraine's capital, said Babchenko's wife found him outside their apartment.

"I would like to apologise for what you have all had to go through", Mr Babchenko said to reports this afternoon. "Olechka, I am sorry, but there were no options here".

"Separately, I want to apologise to my wife for the hell that she has been through."

In coordination with Ukrainian police, Mr Babchenko staged his death as part of an investigation into death threats he had received.

Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Wednesday finding out Babchenko was still alive came as the "best news".


Mikhail Fedotov, head of the Kremlin human rights council and head of the Russian Union of Journalists, said Babchenko had his "own special vision of the world, with his very critical view of Russian politics".

The contract hit was ordered by the Russian special service, the SBU said.

"We are relieved that #ArkadyBabchenko is alive", it said.

Russian Federation has rejected Ukraine's allegation that Moscow was behind the murder.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman implied Russian Federation had orchestrated the killing.

What some are calling Ukraine's fake news operation comes just months after heightened tensions between Russia and the United Kingdom over allegations Moscow used a nerve agent to poison Sergei Skripal, a former Russian double agent, and his daughter. Babchenko was 19 when he was sent to fight in Russia's first Chechen campaign in the 1990s as a conscript.

Babchenko made a name for himself with his poignant reportages from the frontlines, including the conflict in eastern Ukraine that has killed more than 10,000 people.

The Russian internet news site Kommersant, citing a source close to the Ukrainian prosecution, reported that the assassination was "almost certainly a provocation by outside parties".

Authorities in Ukraine are still investigating the killing of journalist Pavel Sheremet in a car-bomb blast in central Kyiv in July 2016.

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