Russian Journalist Faked His Own Death, Ukraine's Security Chief Says

Arkady Babchenko

Arkady Babchenko

He in turn had hired a gunman.

The suspected organizer of the alleged hit plot was detained Wednesday, Gritsak said, suggesting the bogus killing was aimed at flushing him out, and he showed a video of the arrest. "I'm sorry for making you live through this", he said.

Petro Poroshenko, Ukraine's president, tweeted praising the efforts of security services and saying the operation had to take place for the safety of Babchenko and his family as Russian Federation was unlikely to back down.

"I would like to apologize to my wife for the hell she went through in those two days".

The freakish scenes were a shock to everyone - including Mr Babchenko's wife, who received an apology from her husband for faking his own death.

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At the start of Wednesday's news conference, Gritsak announced the journalist's murder had been solved and called the day Babchenko's "third birthday".

Russia's foreign ministry expressed relief at Babchenko being alive.

"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. "Then I would very much like to thank the Security Service of Ukraine for saving my life", he said.

He added: "To create a picture of full reality, statements were made by the official representatives of the National Police about the death of Arkady".

To the amazement and applause of the assembled journalists at the headquarters of the State Security Service, or SBU, Ukrainian authorities said they had staged his murder.

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"Law enforcers could not fail to understand that the news of the murder of Arkady Babchenko would be a pain in thousands of hearts around the world".

The Russian Foreign ministry said on Wednesday it was happy Mr Babchenko had turned out to be alive after all, but said Ukraine has used his story as propaganda. It was shot down and 14 people on board were killed. "Ukrainian authorities must disclose what necessitated the extreme measure of staging news of the Russian journalist's murder". It was not clear if she had been involved in the plot or not.

No stranger to death, Babchenko served in the Russian army during Chechnya's two wars for independence, after which he wrote a powerful memoir about the everyday brutality of conflict before turning to journalism, writing about war for a range of Russian publications.

"We state that the problem of life and death in Ukraine and the trust that the global community vests in its policy are little more than small change for the Kiev regime, which is fanning the anti-Russian hysteria", the statement said.

Babchenko, a former soldier in the Chechen war who became one of Russia's best-known war correspondents, left his homeland fearing for his life after criticising Russian policy in Ukraine and Syria.

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"I am confident that the Russian totalitarian machine did not forgive him his honesty and principled stance". Ukraine is planed 101.

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