In a freakish twist, ‘murdered’ Russian journalist turns up alive

Arturo Kim
May 30, 2018

Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko, whose reported death was global news on Tuesday night, has appeared at a televised press conference.

But on Wednesday, an emotional Mr. Babchenko appeared before reporters saying he had been part of a special Ukrainian operation to thwart a Russian attempt on his life and said he was fine.

In a story May 29 about a Russian journalist killed in Ukraine, The Associated Press and other media organizations reported, based on fabricated information from Ukrainian authorities, that Arkady Babchenko was shot and killed.

Mr Babchenko's wife had earlier said he'd been shot in the back as he left their apartment in the city.

The murder will further strain ties between Ukraine and Russian Federation, post-Soviet allies who fell out following the ouster of Ukraine's pro-Kremlin leader in 2014.

Babchenko, 41, was found bleeding by his wife. He spoke and wrote about leaving the country because of the threats against him and his family.

"I'm still alive", he said.

In response to allegations that Moscow may have been the murder, Matviyenko said "Russia had no motivation" to kill the journalist, the state-run TASS news agency reported.

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The SBU claims that Russian intelligence paid $30,000 to some people to kill Babchenko and that they had to stage his assassination to thwart the plot.

Anti-Kremlin Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko was pronounced dead Tuesday.

"The Russian Investigative Committee is not going to ignore brutal crimes against Russian citizens", committee spokeswoman Svetlana Petrenko said.

Moscow's annexation of Crimea and support for separatist insurgents in eastern Ukraine were topics on which the journalist was scathingly critical of the Kremlin. In 2017, Babchenko left Russian Federation, after which he lived in the Czech Republic and Israel, in August 2017 he moved to Kiev, where he conducted a program on the television channel ATR.

Pro-Kremlin activists unleashed a campaign of harassment against Babchenko, forcing him to flee Russian Federation previous year.

Babchenko told RFE/RL in December 2016 that "all of the elements" of Russia's state "propaganda machine" were engaged against him after he posted comments to Facebook about the crash of a Russian military plane in the Black Sea.

Babchenko was 19 when he was sent to fight in Russia's first Chechen campaign in the 1990s as a conscript.

After moving to Kiev last autumn he had been working as a host for Crimean TV station ATR.

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