'Assassinated' Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko is apparently still alive
Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko, who was reportedly shot dead outside his home in Kiev, is apparently still alive. He allegedly showed up alive at a news conference on Wednesday May 30. Vasily Gritsak, head of the Ukrainian Security Service, has stated that his agency faked Babchenko’s death to catch a group of assassins who had targeted him. Mr Babchenko thanked everyone who was mourning his death, and apologised to his wife, stating: "Olechka, I am sorry, but there were no options here. I'm sorry for making you live through this. I've buried my own friends and colleagues many times myself."
Police who were in on the scheme originally stated that the high-profile murder might have been politically motivated, and claimed that the respected war correspondent was shot three times in the back just after leaving his apartment to buy groceries. He was said to have died in the ambulance en route to the hospital. The police did not name a suspect, but posted a sketch of the gunman, (a bearded man wearing a baseball hat) which they claimed was based on eyewitness accounts. A memorial plaque, which was briefly erected in Babchenko's honour, has now been taken down.
The former-lawyer-turned reporter has become something of a hate figure in his native Russia - which he fled in February 2017 after receiving numerous death threats. When his 'death' was announced publicly, many speculated that the Kremlin had ordered the hit on Babchenko to silence his dissidence. However, Russia's foreign minister Sergei Lavrov denounced the allegations that the Russian government was responsible, calling the accusations an "anti-Russian campaign," adding that "bloody crimes and total impunity have become routine for the Kiev regime."
Babchenko's career began when he served in the Russian army during the first separatist war in Chechnya. After that, he studied law, but his true passion was writing and the exposure of corruption and negligence in war zones. This led him to become the war correspondent for several Russian media outlets. He has been consistently critical of Russian military intervention in Syria and Ukraine.
Hours before his faked murder, Babchenko shared a photo on social media, which marked the four-year anniversary of his "second birth". A Ukrainian general had once refused to take him on a military helicopter that was later destroyed. He tweeted: "Fourteen people died. And I got lucky." Now he'll be celebrating a third "birth" after dodging death a second time. He really is lucky.