Friday, 22 June, 2018

'Dead' Russian journalist turns up alive at news conference in Kiev

Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko was fatally shot at his apartment in Kiev Ukrainian police said Tuesday After living in Tel Aviv, Russian reporter shot dead in Kiev
Gerardo Duncan | 31 May, 2018, 20:56

Russia's foreign ministry expressed relief at Babchenko being alive. He had kept the plan a secret for months, even from his family. "Olechka, I am sorry, but there were no options here".

"I am outraged by this horrific act", Mr Desir said in an earlier statement.

Olha, a pensioner who lives in a sixth-floor apartment across the hall from Babchenko, said she had spent much of the day crying, speaking to journalists, and being questioned by police, who asked what she might have seen or heard.

Ukraine's chief of security services, Vasyl Gritsak, said Ukrainian police had detained one suspect involved in the real plot against Babchenko, a former rebel fighter in eastern Ukraine - in other words, one allied with Russian Federation in the fighting there.

The murder "was ordered by Russia's security forces", Hrytsak said Wednesday.

Russian investigators have opened their own investigation into the killing and said they are ready to cooperate with Ukraine.

Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko (C), who was reported murdered in the Ukrainian capital on May 29, Ukrainian Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko (R) and head of the state security service (SBU) Vasily Gritsak attend a news briefing in Kiev, Ukraine on May 30, 2018. "We know some names but I won't name them".

The freakish scenes were a shock to everyone - including Mr Babchenko's wife, who received an apology from her husband for faking his own death. The unidentified Ukrainian man in turn allegedly hired an acquaintance to be the gunman, Gritsak said.

"The important thing is my life has been saved and other, bigger terrorist attacks have been thwarted", he said.

"I would like to apologise for what you have all had to go through", Mr Babchenko, who looked on the verge of tears at times, told reporters.

Babchenko, 41, one of Russia's best-known war reporters, spoke and wrote year about leaving the country because of repeated threats that he and his family would be harmed.

Journalist Arkady Babchenko fled his country in 2017 after learning that a campaign was being waged against him by Russian officials. He said his home address was published online and the threats he received were made by phone, email and social media.

Babchenko's work is 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. His flight from Russian Federation came several months after he wrote in a Facebook post that he wasn't sorry that members of a military band and state TV journalists died in a plane crash on their way to Russia's military base in Syria.

Several Russian lawmakers said at the time that Babchenko should be stripped of his citizenship over the comment, and Russian state media called him a traitor.

Babchenko, 41, fled his native Russia for Ukraine previous year after receiving death threats for criticizing Russian military involvement in Syria.

Babchenko did not take the intimidation too seriously, according to Ponomarev.

In his last Facebook post before he disappeared, Babchenko recalled an incident four years ago when he was meant to fly in a Ukrainian military helicopter in Ukraine's embattled Donbass region.

"And I was lucky".

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