Russian Journalist Arkady Babchenko Shot Dead in Kiev

Russian Journalist Arkady Babchenko Shot Dead in Kiev

A Russian dissident journalist who was reported murdered in Kiev dramatically reappeared alive and well on Wednesday in the middle of a briefing about the killing by the Ukrainian state security service.

Last night, local police reported that Mr Babchenko was shot in his apartment building in the Ukrainian capital, Kiev.

Ukraine's Security Service suggested it had staged the murder.

The security service said, according to the Post, that Babchenko's death was meant to be the first of some 30 planned killings of Russian citizens in Ukraine allegedly ordered by Russian special services.

"I'm still alive", Babchenko told a group of fellow reporters.

"Olechka, I am sorry, but there were no options here", Babchenko declared.

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He also apologized to his wife, who he said was not briefed on the scheme in advance, "for the hell she had to go through in the past two days".

Babchenko left Russian Federation in February 2017, saying he was receiving threats and concerned he might be jailed.

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.

What some are calling Ukraine's fake news operation comes just months after heightened tensions between Russia and the United Kingdom over allegations Moscow used a nerve agent to poison Sergei Skripal, a former Russian double agent, and his daughter.

It said it had detained a Ukrainian citizen recruited by Russian Federation to find someone to kill Mr Babchenko.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman implied Russian Federation had orchestrated the killing.

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Another journalist, Sergiy Grishyn, said "Babchenko will have to give me money for pills" for the stress he'd suffered.

Konstantin Kosachev, head of the worldwide affairs committee of the upper house of the Russian parliament, compared Ukraine's allegations to Britain's claims that Moscow was behind the nerve gas poisonings of a Russian former spy and his daughter in England.

Babchenko, who wrote for the Guardian and BBC as a war correspondent, was a former Russian soldier who fought in Chechnya.

The man allegedly paid to organise Mr Babchenko's killing was detained on Wednesday, he said, showing a video of the arrest. In the meantime, the Russian Investigative Committee has launched its own investigation into Babchenko's death.

In Moscow, officials and lawmakers criticized Ukrainian authorities for their alleged failure to protect journalists.

He faced backlash after commenting on the crash of a Russian plane transporting the world-famous military choir Alexandrov Ensemble en route to Syria. His murder follows the earlier death of Ukranian-Belarussian journalist Pavel Sheremet by auto bomb in central Kiev in 2016.

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