Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko faked his own death, Ukraine's security chief says
31 May, 2018, 20:30 | Author: Kristine Mills
In an elaborate scheme, Babchenko, a Russian exile, worked with Security Service of Ukraine in an attempt to see if Kremlin agents were looking to assassinate him - a very real for Russian journalists whose reporting undermines the government that has killed reporters in the past. "I'm sorry you had to go through this but there was no other way", he said.
According to the SBU, the Russian special services ordered the murder of Babchenko and paid an unnamed Ukrainian citizen, $40,000 to organize the murder.
Reports had earlier said that Babchenko's wife found him covered in blood at their home, and that he had died in an ambulance.
Babchenko is a well-known war correspondent in Russian Federation.
To the applause and gasps of the press, Babchenko took the floor and apologized to the friends and family who mourned for him and were unaware of the plan. The Chief of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), Vasyl Hrytsak, said the operation had been planned for two months.
Ukraine and Russian Federation traded accusations after Babchenkowas reported to have been shot dead in Kiev, in a killing that sent shivers through the journalistic communities in both countries.
"It is anti-Russian bluster instead of talking about the need to conduct a thorough, objective investigation", Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters before it was revealed that Babchenko was alive and well.
He served in the Russian army during the first separatist war in Chechnya during the 1990s and later became a journalist.
Russia's foreign ministry expressed relief at Babchenko being alive. Babchenko had to leave Russian Federation due to threats in February 2017.
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.
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Babchenko fought in the Russian army in Chechnya , and then became a war reporter for several Russian newspapers. At least one journalist has been murdered in Ukraine in the past two years in direct retaliation for his work.
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