Published: Thu, May 31, 2018
Culture | By Wayne Carr

Journalist's murder staged to foil 'assassination' plot

Journalist's murder staged to foil 'assassination' plot

The chief of Ukraine's security services told reporters that the agency faked Mr Babchenko's death in order to catch a man, allegedly hired by Moscow, to kill him.

Oleg Kashin, a Russian journalist who was brutally attacked in 2010, told HuffPost UK that while the development was undoubtedly good news, those close to Babchenko might not be so pleased: "What is better- to be killed or to be part of this Macabre show?"

"Of course now, I would have to express my deep condolences to the family of Arkady Babchenko", said Vasyl Hrytsak, head of the SBU.

Hyrtsak told reporters the Ukrainian security service had received information indicating Russian Federation wanted Babchenko dead, and that they conspired to fake Babchenko's death as part of a plan to capture the would-be killers.

Arkady Babchenko died of his wounds in an ambulance after his wife found him covered in blood in their home, police said on Tuesday, adding they suspected the murder was due to Babchenko's professional activities.

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Babchenko was an outspoken critic of the Kremlin, speaking out against Russia's annexation of Crimea and against Russian involvement in Syria. "Special apologies to my wife", he said.

"Law enforcers clearly understood that the news of the murder of Arkady Babchenko would be a pain for thousands of hearts around the world".

"We are relieved that Arkady Babchenko is alive", the group said.

Babchenko had been scathingly critical of the Kremlin in recent years.

Babchenko's death follows those of prominent Russian journalist Pavel Sheremet, killed in a auto bomb in Kiev in 2016, and ex-Russian lawmaker Denis Voronenkov, who was shot dead in the city in 2017.

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The SBU said it had received information about the plot and had managed to prevent it.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman said in a social media posting late on Tuesday he was convinced that what he called "the Russian totalitarian machine" had not forgiven Babchenko for what Mr Groysman called his honesty.

In a statement, the Russian Foreign Ministry said journalists were being killed with impunity in Ukraine. His flight from Russian Federation came several months after he wrote in a Facebook post that he wasn't sorry members of a military band and state television journalists died in a plane crash on their way to Russia's military base in Syria.

Babchenko told the news conference he had previously fled Russian Federation after receiving death threats. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov responded with accusations of Russophobia: "This is the highest level of cynicism amid such a brutal murder, to shake the air in such a Russophobic way, instead of talking about conducting a thorough and impartial investigation".

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