A Russian journalists hiding out in the Ukraine says that he was forced to fake his own murder in order to assist in a Ukrainian law enforcement sting designed to capture the man he says was sent by Russia to kill him.
Overnight Tuesday, western media reported that Arkady Babchenko had been killed in Ukraine where he was living in exile after his reporting angered Russian authorities. Tributes and memorials had already begun pouring in from around the world, when the Associated Press tweeted a shocking update: Babchenko was not only alive, but was at a press conference.
BREAKING: Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko, who was reported killed in Kiev, shows up at a news conference in Ukraine.
— The Associated Press (@AP) May 30, 2018
It turned out the press conference was for him.
“Special apologies to my wife. Olechka, I am sorry, but there were no options here,” he said, according to Reuters’ Moscow correspondent, Polina Ivanov. “The operation took two months to prepare. I was told a month ago. As a result of the operation, one person has been captured, he is being held.”
Ivanova continued that when Babchenko learned about the planned assassination against him, he teamed up with Ukrainian security services. According to Babchenko, the hit cost Putin $40,000. News of his death was even reported by Ukrainian media and it is unclear whether they too were in on the operation.
You can read the wild thread below.
#breaking Russian journalist Babchenko that was declared murdered last night is… alive
Says he had to stage his own murder in order to capture someone, apologises to his wife.
— Polina Ivanova (@polina__ivanova) May 30, 2018
Babchenko fled Russia last year as a safety precaution over his critical coverage of both the Kremlin and Russia’s involvement in Syria. A Russian spokesperson told CNN that they were happy Babchenko was safe.