Russian journalist Babchenko defends staged death

ImageCreditKorea Pool  Yonhap via Associated Press

ImageCreditKorea Pool Yonhap via Associated Press

Read alsoKlimkin says was "not aware" of SBU sting operation while addressing UNSC May 29According to the journalist, Babchenko's appearance at an SBU-PGO briefing outraged Russia, and the whole SBU set-up was immediately called "anti-Russian", while Ukraine was said to have "embarrassed itself" before the global community.

Kiev police reported Tuesday that Babchenko, who settled in Kiev in the fall and worked as a host for the Crimean Tatar TV station, had been shot inside his apartment building and discovered there by his wife.

Ukraine's embassy in London, in a comment, asked for understanding from its worldwide partners even when it took "unorthodox approaches" to fend off Russia's hybrid attempts at destabilisation.

The SBU said it received information about a plot to kill 30 people in Ukraine, including Babchenko, but had thwarted it. The ordeal started at 6 p.m. and by 10 p.m., he arrived, cold and wet, at the morgue. He then washed off the blood, put on a sheet and "watched the news and saw what a great guy I had been".

His unexpected return was initially met with gasps and cheers.

Mr. President, as you stated you were fully informed of the SBU-led operation and congratulated the agency on its success, we believe that you are best placed to address the many outstanding questions.

"The main thing is that the killing of a journalist was foiled, the organisers are caught and the journalist is alive", said Russian political commentator Evgeny Roizman. He had opted to go an event honoring Babchenko instead of attending an award ceremony.

"Babchenko is a journalist, not a policeman. and part of our job is trust", he wrote on Twitter.

Some wondered if the ruse would ultimately backfire, harming Ukraine's credibility or undermining concern about violence against journalists.

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Arkady Babchenko, 41, told reporters in Kiev Thursday that the "murder" was staged to capture the person who allegedly hired a hitman to kill him. Here we were, spending most of yesterday posting about his death like it happened, only, all of us, to discover that it'd been mistaken.

Reporters Without Borders director Christophe Deloire tweeted his "deepest indignation at the discovery of the manipulation of the Ukrainian secret services. It is always deeply risky for states to play with the facts".

The next day, during a news conference to discuss the killing, Ukrainian Security Service chief Vasyl Gritsak revealed that Babchenko was alive by inviting him into the room, stunning fellow journalists.

Ukraine's Security Service said the operation foiled a real attempt against Babchenko's life.

Babchenko called Russian Federation an aggressor, and accused the country of killing children in its air support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime.

Meanwhile Borys Herman, the co-owner of a weapons manufacturer, appeared in court denying that there was ever any intent to kill Babchenko and saying that he had acted in Ukraine's interests.

Interior Minister Arsen Avakov, however, lashed out at the criticism. Thanks, Ukrainian security services. Others said it had handed the Kremlin a propaganda gift. "It's too bad that in other cases, the masquerade didn't quite come off".

His second press conference came as a Kiev court granted a request by prosecutors on Thursday to detain a suspect for two months in what Ukrainian authorities say is the plot to murder Babchenko. He was thinking about his safety and the safety of his family.

"From what I know, planning for the special operation got under way two months ago", Babchenko told journalists, adding he was brought into it one month ago.

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