Arkady Babchenko: Ukraine reveals it staged Russian journalist's murder

Ukraine said the staged murder was part of an inquiry into threats against Arkady Babchenko's life 

Ukraine announce that they staged the murder of Russian journalist, Arkady Babchenko on Tuesday, as part of an inquiry into threats against his life.

Arkady Babchenko emerged at a police press conference on Wednesday afternoon in front of journalists who had been expecting updates on the investigation into his murder.

Vasily Gritsak, the head of the Ukrainian security service, told reporters the agency had faked Babchenko’s death to catch people who were trying to kill him.

On Tuesday, Ukrainian police had said Babchenko, a Kremlin critic and veteran Russian war correspondent, was shot three times in the back as he left his apartment to buy bread. A government official told the media that Babchenko, 41, died in the ambulance on the way to the hospital.

That story was widely reported by media around the world, until Wednesday's sudden and extraordinary development.

Police said they had made one arrest in connection to the operation.

Babchenko  thanked the Ukrainian security services for saving his life and said he had had no choice but to take part in the sting.

"I have buried many friends and colleagues many times and I know the sickening feeling," he added. "I am sorry you had to experience it. But there was no other way."

Apparently he had not even told his closest family members about the plan.

“Special apologies to my wife, Olechka – there was no other option,” Babchenko said to a room of visibly stunned journalists. “The operation was under preparation for two months.”

The general prosecutor, Yuriy Lutsenko, who appeared alongside Babchenko, said it had been necessary to fake the journalist’s death so the organisers of the plot to kill him would believe they had succeeded.

Hours after the news broke, Babchenko tweeted to say he would "die at 96" after "dancing on Putin's grave", referring to the President of Russia, Vladimir Putin.

The Russian foreign ministry said on Wednesday it was happy Babchenko had turned out to be alive, but said Ukraine had used his story as propaganda. Maria Zakharova, the foreign ministry spokeswoman, said the story was imbued with “propagandistic effect”.

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