Published: Wed, May 30, 2018
Worldwide | By Stella Potter

'Murdered' Russia journalist turns up alive

'Murdered' Russia journalist turns up alive

A Russian journalist and Kremlin critic reported killed late Tuesday appeared alive and well Wednesday to describe his part in what Ukrainian officials called an operation to catch a would-be murderer.

Konstantin Kosachev, the chair of the Foreign Relations Committee in the Russian Senate, called the SBU ruse "a stage in a series of delusional actions of the Ukrainian authorities directed at Russia" and compared it to the murky case of the poisoning of Sergey and Yulia Skripal in the UK.

Arkady Babchenko was a Russian writer, journalist and military correspondent.

Mr Babchenko was reportedly found by his wife bleeding at the entrance to his block of flats, shot several times in the back, and died in an ambulance. The unidentified Ukrainian man in turn allegedly hired an acquaintance to be the gunman, Gritsak said.

In his last Facebook post just hours before the attack, Mr Babchenko recalled how lucky he was four years ago - exactly to the day. When he turned up dead, fingers were quickly pointed at the Russian government, which has a long history of eliminating dissidents.

"[Babchenko] showed up at Gritsak's news conference on Wednesday and thanked everyone who was mourning his death", AP reported.

Babchenko's wife is in a state of shock and police are unable to speak to her, he said. "Olechka, I am sorry, but there were no options here". "But there was no other way". Even his wife didn't know that he was actually in on the act.

In February 2017, writing for Britain's The Guardian newspaper, Babchenko said: "I can tell you what political harassment feels like in [President Vladimir] Putin's Russian Federation".

The head of Ukraine's security services, Vasyl Hrytsak, said at the press conference that the "murder" had been staged to expose Russian agents.

But Russian journalists speaking to HuffPost UK have expressed doubts about the operation.

However, it has now emerged that the Ukrainian security services faked Mr Babchenko's death. Full details of how the sting was carried out and how the staged assassination managed to reveal the real assassin have not yet been revealed.

He had previously been scathingly critical of Moscow's policies, assailing its annexation of Crimea, its support for separatist insurgents in eastern Ukraine and the Russian campaign in Syria. "I've given an order to provide Arkady and his family with protection", Poroshenko tweeted. "The Ukrainian government can't guarantee basic freedoms".

He travelled to the conflict in Ukraine, which continues to claim lives, and criticized the 2014 downing of Malaysia Airlines passenger flight MH17, which killed 298 people.

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