Published: Sat, June 02, 2018
Global Media | By Derrick Guzman

‘Murdered’ Russian Journalist Shows Up Alive at Press Conference

‘Murdered’ Russian Journalist Shows Up Alive at Press Conference

Russian anti-Kremlin journalist Arkady Babchenko, whose fake death Ukraine admitted on Wednesday to staging, has many admirers but probably even more detractors.

It had previously been reported that Mr Babchenko was shot in the stairwell of his building when returning home after buying bread, with his wife finding him bleeding on the floor.

The 41-year-old appeared Wednesday with the head of the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) to admit that he faked death in order to foil a very real plot to murder him.

The security service said, according to the Post, that Babchenko's death was meant to be the first of some 30 planned killings of Russian citizens in Ukraine allegedly ordered by Russian special services.

Babchenko thanked the Ukrainian security service for saving his life. "Also I would like to apologize to my wife for the hell she went through in those two days". "I'm sorry for making you live through this".

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

In April 2015, Oles Buzina, another prominent journalist who was critical of Ukraine's authorities, was shot dead in Kiev.

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

Another journalist, Sergiy Grishyn, said "Babchenko will have to give me money for pills" for the stress he'd suffered.

"I am confident that the Russian totalitarian machine did not forgive him his honesty and principled stance", Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman said in an online statement.

Babchenko is a well-known critic of Russia's policies toward Ukraine.

Russia's Foreign Ministry condemned the murder and urged Ukraine's authorities, global bodies and NGOs to monitor the investigation closely.

Poroshenko welcomed Babchenko with a hug at the presidential administration and said the journalist and his family would be given protection.

In a Facebook post hours before the fake killing, Babchenko wrote about his "second birthday" when a Ukrainian general refused to let him on a helicopter that was then shot down by Kremlin-backed rebels, killing 14 people on board in 2014. Russia's high commissioner for human rights, Tatiana Moskalkova, promised to address Ukrainian authorities, urging them to pay special attention to the investigation of the journalist's murder.

Ukrainian lawmaker Anton Gerashchenko wrote on Facebook that investigators would be looking at "Russian spy agencies' efforts to get rid of those who are trying to tell the truth about what is going on in Russia and Ukraine", the AP reports.

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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