Anti-Putin Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko appeared at a press conference Wednesday, a day after reports appeared to confirm his assassination in Kiev, Ukraine, explaining that Ukrainian police fabricated his killing to catch those plotting his murder.
The Associated Press (AP) is reporting that Ukrainian security officials “confirmed” Babchenko’s death to help track down the would-be killers.
After reports circulated around the globe on Tuesday the Babchenko, 41, had been gunned down in front of his home in Ukraine and was found dying by his wife, Vasily Gritsak, head of the Ukrainian Security Service, told reporters on Wednesday the officials faked the journalist’s death.
“[Babchenko] showed up at Gritsak’s news conference on Wednesday and thanked everyone who was mourning his death,” AP reported.
Babchenko, one of Russia’s best-known war reporters, has spoken and written about leaving Russia because of threats he and his family faced and finally relocated to Ukraine, according to AP.
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
Authorities in Ukraine stated that the culprits were linked to Russian security services, according to a translation of remarks at the press conference by the BBC.
Vasily Gritsak, head of the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU), led the press conference, ostensibly convened to give the media details on the assassination of Babchenko. “I could offer my condolences to to Arkady Babchenko’s family, but I will not,” Gritsak said before introducing Babchenko alive, according to The Telegraph. On the contrary, today I congratulate Arkady on his third birthday in this hall.”
“I can now reveal details of the SBU special operation, thanks to which we were able not only to thwart a cynical provocation, but also document the Russian special service’s preparations for this low crime,” Gritsak added.
Babchenko used his time in the press conference to apologize to his loved ones for putting them through the pain of grieving for his death. “Special apologies to my wife,” he added. “Olechka, I am sorry, but there were no options here.”
“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,” the journalist confirmed.
Photos from Ukraine following the press conference showed authorities removing a memorial plaque in Babchenko’s honor being removed.
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