Russian journalist who faked death: I wanted to avoid Skripal’s fate

Russian journalist who faked death: I wanted to avoid Skripal’s fate

Russian journalist who faked death: I wanted to avoid Skripal’s fate

Head of Kiev police Andriy Krishchenko (C) speaks to journalists at the entrance of building of journalist Arkady Babchenko late on May 29, 2018.

Ukrainian authorities had said on Tuesday that Arkady Babchenko, a 41-year-old critic of President Vladimir Putin and of Russian policy in Ukraine and Syria, had been shot dead at his flat and that his wife had found him in a pool of blood.

His reported murder sparked a war of words between Ukraine and Russian Federation.

His closest relatives were in on the hoax, including his wife, who had returned from a trip to Moscow on Monday, Mr Babchenko said. "I'm sorry you had to go through this but there was no other way".

His second press conference came as a Kiev court granted a request by prosecutors on Thursday to detain a suspect for two months in what Ukrainian authorities say is the plot to murder Babchenko.

"That was the best news conference in my life", said Olga Musafirova.

Ukrainian Security Service says it faked Arkady Babchenko's death to catch those who were trying to kill him.

"Once the gates of the morgue closed behind me, I was resurrected", Babchenko said, saying he had then washed off the fake blood and dressed himself in a sheet.

They said they had detained a man who had received $40,000 (34,200 euros) from Russian secret services to organise the murder of the journalist. "I don't know whether the ends justify the means in this particular case", he said.

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Ilya Ponomarev, a former Russian lawmaker who also moved to Ukraine, said Wednesday that Babchenko continued being threatened after he settled last fall in Kiev, where he worked as a host for the Crimean Tatar TV station.

Babchenko said he was anxious the entire time the operation would fall through, but was relieved after it was completed.

"Now the true motives are beginning to be revealed for this staging, which is totally, obviously yet another anti-Russian provocation", the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said. The Kremlin called accusations of Russian involvement "the height of cynicism".

A Kremlin spokesman said Thursday that Russian Federation is glad journalist Arkady Babchenko is alive, but that the faking of his death was "strange".

Mr Babchenko sparked a backlash in Russian Federation for his comments in a 2016 Facebook post on the military plane crash.

In his first detailed comments since the incident, he said the plot, which saw him doused in pig's blood and driven to a morgue, was the "only way" to thwart a genuine threat.

The plane, carrying 92 people, including dozens of Red Army Choir singers, dancers and orchestra members, crashed into the Black Sea on its way to Syria in December 2016, killing everyone on board.

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