Russian journalist fools worlds media by staging his murder in elaborate scheme with Ukraine
Arkady Babchenko, the Russian journalist whose assassination was dramatically announced by Ukraine on Tuesday, emerged very much alive on Wednesday and said he had faked his own death in order to frustrate a plot by Moscow to kill him.
Smiling, and looking a little sheepish, Babchenko appeared before a surreal press conference held by Ukraine's SBU security service. He apologised to his wife for the “nightmare” he had caused her but said there had been no alternative to playing at being dead.
” Olechka, I am sorry, but there were no alternatives here ,” Babchenko declared.” I'm sorry for making you live through this. I've buried my own friends and colleagues many times myself .”
Ukrainian officials announced on Tuesday that Babchenko, a veteran war correspondent, had been shot three times in the back as he left his apartment in the capital Kiev to buy bread. His spouse discovered him lying in a puddle of blood and Babchenko died in an ambulance on the way to hospital, they said.
Ukraine's prime minister, Volodymyr Groysman, promptly blamed the Kremlin for Babchenko's ” demise” and indicated he had been targeted because of his professional work. To complete the picture, the authorities concerned released a sketch of the likely assassin. It disclosed a bearded middle-aged human wearing a baseball cap.
On Wednesday Babchenko revealed that this was all an elaborate special operation- a hoax, in fact. It surely fooled the world's media, which reported his death prominently, and prompted friends and colleagues to shower him with posthumous tributes. At the time when he came back from the dead novelists were busy crafting his obituary.
The news that Babchenko was alive and the sight of the reporter inspired gasps from journalists at the press conference. Speaking in Russian, for which he apologised, Babchenko said Ukraine's SBU had learned of a “serious” plan to kill him two months ago and cautioned him about it one month ago.
The plot originated in Moscow and from” government security services”, he said.” They[ the SBU] showed me evidence and I understood that it was coming from Russia, likely from country security apparatus ,” Babchenko explained. He added:” They suggested I take part in a stinging operation .”
His apparent murderers had been provided with his passport photo and official details, he said, hinting this was proof of Russian country conspiracy. The stinging operation had its bizarre denouement on Tuesday night when his death was announced.” I did my job. And I'm still alive ,” Babchenko said, carrying thanks to Ukraine's special services for” saving my life “.