Published: Thu, May 31, 2018
World News | By Laverne Osborne

"Murdered" Russian Journalist Babchenko Alive, Speaks on Ukrainian TV

When she turned on a broadcast of the press conference at which Ukrainian officials revealed the hoax, and Babchenko himself appeared, she couldn't believe her eyes. He had kept the plan a secret for months, even from his family.

"I want to apologize that all of you had to go through that - I was at funerals of my friends and colleagues, so I know this nauseating feeling, but it was the only way out", he said.

Grytsak announced authorities had arrested the alleged mastermind of the plot, saying a Ukrainian citizen named only by the initial G. had offered to pay a hitman to carry out the killing after being recruited by Russian special forces and paid $40,000.

The SBU Security Service of Ukraine reported that the killing had been ordered by Russia's FSB security service.

"In order to better document the customers and organisers of the crime - the representatives of the Russian special services - they had to be assured that the hired killer had successfully completed the order".

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.

The freaky scenes were a shock to everyone - including Mr Babchenko's wife, who received an apology from her husband for faking his own death. The Ukrainian man also was supposed to procure large quantities of weapons and explosives, including 300 AK-47 rifles and "hundreds of kilos of explosives", to perpetrate acts of terror in Ukraine, he said. He said he was approached by the Ukrainian Security Service, or SBU, a month ago.

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"The important thing is my life has been saved and other, bigger terrorist attacks have been thwarted", he said.

Babchenko fought in Russia's two Chechen campaigns in the 1990s and early 2000s before becoming a war correspondent and author. Babchenko had left Russian Federation for Ukraine in February 2017 because he feared for his life. He said his comments, in which he said he "didn't give a damn" about the incident, had resulted in thousands of threats, his home address being published online and calls for him to be deported.

Babchenko's work is critical of the Kremlin's policies, assailing Moscow's annexation of Crimea, its support for separatist insurgents in eastern Ukraine and the Russian campaign in Syria. He then he became a war reporter for several Russian newspapers.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman said in a social media posting late on Tuesday he was convinced that what he called "the Russian totalitarian machine" had not forgiven Babchenko for what Mr Groysman called his honesty.

Babchenko did not take the intimidation too seriously, according to Ponomarev.

Ukrainian Prosecutor General Yuri Lutsenko lashed out Wednesday at Ukrainian politicians and civil groups who accused the government following Babchenko's faked assassination of allowing contract killings to happen.

"And I was lucky".

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