Prominent Russian journalist who criticised Kremlin shot dead in Kiev

31 May, 2018, 20:55 | Author: Jason Torres
  • Arkady Babchenko

Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko, who had been reported shot and killed in the Ukrainian capital Tuesday, has shown up at a news conference very much alive.

Konstantin Kosachev, head of the global affairs committee of the upper house of the Russian parliament, compared Ukraine's actions to Britain accusing Moscow of being behind the nerve gas poisonings of a Russian former spy and his daughter in England.

The operation led Gritsak and investigators to a Ukrainian citizen who had been paid $40,000 to kill Babchenko and then hired an acquaintance from separatist conflicts to pull the trigger.

Tweet reads: Arkady Babchenko is alive! Olechka, I am terribly sorry, but there were no other options.

Harlem Desir, Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe Representative on Freedom of the Media, said he was on his way to Kiev to meet the Babchenko's colleagues on Wednesday as a slew of Western foreign ministers condemned the killing.

Many of Babchenko's contemporaries expressed relief that he was still alive.

Hyrtsak told reporters the Ukrainian security service had received information indicating Russian Federation wanted Babchenko dead, and that they conspired to fake Babchenko's death as part of a plan to capture the would-be killers.

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Moscow, which has been at odds with Kiev since a 2014 popular revolt in Ukraine that toppled a Russian-backed government in favour of a pro-Western one, described such allegations as part of an anti-Russian smear campaign. Gritsak added that the detained Ukrainian national's coconspirators consist of former participants of Kiev's ongoing military operation in eastern Ukraine. "I've buried my own friends and colleagues many times myself". He said Ukrainian law enforcement had been aware of a contract on his head for two months.

"The important thing is my life has been saved and other, bigger terrorist attacks have been thwarted", he said. Russian officials also criticized Ukraine for failing to provide adequate protection to journalists.

The SBU said it had received information about the plot and had managed to prevent it.

That man in turn approached a former Ukrainian volunteer soldier to carry out the killing, Hrytsak said. "That's really helpful to all who care about journalist safety".

In late 2017, Babchenko wrote for The Guardian, saying: "I can tell you what political harassment feels like in [President Vladimir] Putin's Russian Federation".

Babchenko, a Putin critic, lived in the Ukrainian capital after receiving threats at home for saying he did not mourn the victims of a Russian military plane crash. His flight from Russian Federation came several months after he wrote in a Facebook post that he wasn't sorry members of a military band and state television journalists died in a plane crash on their way to Russia's military base in Syria.

He has contributed to a number of media outlets including top opposition newspaper Novaya Gazeta and is an avid blogger, accusing Russian authorities of killing Kremlin critics and unleashing wars in Ukraine, Syria and elsewhere.

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