Ukraininan TV has shown “murdered” Russian dissident journalist Arkardy Babchenko alive and well. The reports of his death appear to have been part of a sting operation to catch potential assassins.
The head of Ukraine’s security services, Vasyl Hrytsak, told reporters the “murder” had been staged to expose Russian agents.
“According to information received by the Ukrainian security service, the killing of Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko was ordered by the Russian security services themselves,” Mr Hrytsak said.
Mr Babchenko thanked the
Russian[see below] security services for saving his life. It was not immediately clear exactly how the fake murder was staged.
The Russian foreign ministry said in a statement it was happy that Mr Babchenko was alive. Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said the staged murder was done for “propagandistic effect”, Russia’s Interfax news agency reported.
The early text of the BBC story I copied had a typo. It has been corrected and now reads.
He thanked the Ukrainian security services for saving his life.
More details from the Guardian
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 warned 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, probably from state security apparatus,” Babchenko explained. He added: “They suggested I take part in a sting operation.”
His apparent killers had been provided with his passport photo and official details, he said, hinting this was proof of Russian state conspiracy. The sting operation had its bizarre denouement on Tuesday night when his death was announced. “I did my job. And I’m still alive,” Babchenko said, expressing thanks to Ukraine’s special services for “saving my life”.