In Depth

Arkady Babchenko: ‘murdered’ journalist who fled Russia appears on Ukrainian TV

Kremlin critic’s death had been faked in an attempt to flush out people who were trying to kill him

Arkady Babchenko, the Russian journalist and Kremlin critic who was reported this morning to have been shot dead in Ukraine, has appeared alive at a news conference.

Babchenko was earlier reported to have been shot three times in the back outside his apartment building in the Ukrainian capital Kiev, but in an unexpected turn of events he appeared on live TV this afternoon, flanked by Ukrainian security officials.

At the news conference, the head of the Ukrainian security service, Vasily Gritsak, said that Babchenko’s death had been faked in an attempt to flush out an unidentified group of people who were trying to kill him.

According to CNN, it not known whether Babchenko's wife and friend were aware of the operation.

Babchenko fled his homeland in 2017, saying it was “a country I no longer feel safe in”. He said that senior politicians had called for his deportation, and that his home address was published online, after he publicly criticising Russia’s military actions in Syria.

After he was reported dead this morning, the Russian Foreign Ministry blamed Ukraine for Babchenko’s killing, and demanded an independent investigation.

However, Ayder Muzhdabaev, a friend of the journalist, pointed out to Ukrainian state news agency Ukrinform that Babchenko has never written about Ukrainian affairs, but rather “about the Russian government, about their actions, about their criminal activities, that’s all”.

Anton Gerashchenko, a Ukrainian lawmaker who serves as adviser to the interior minister, said investigators have intended to examine “the actions of Russian intelligence agencies to get rid of those who are trying to tell the truth”.

The intriguing case of Arkady Babchenko comes after a “series of attacks, many of them fatal, on outspoken foes of President Vladimir V. Putin, both inside Russia and beyond”, says The New York Times.

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