All it took for Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko to shock the world was to appear in front of a camera.
Babchenko, who was reportedly shot dead on Tuesday inside his Ukraine home, today stunned journalists by appearing before a press conference in Kiev.
VIDEO: Russian journalist, Arkady Babchenko, reported killed in Kiev turns up at a news conference. His “fake death” was part of a special operation to pre-empt a real plot to kill him pic.twitter.com/DEW7V90Sm0
— AFP News Agency (@AFP) May 30, 2018
The 41-year-old war correspondent and avowed critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin appeared alongside Vasyl Hrytsak, the head of Ukraine’s security service, to say his death was faked as part of a sting operation against Russian operatives.
Hyrtsak told reporters the Ukrainian security service had received information indicating Russia wanted Babchenko dead, and that they conspired to fake Babchenko’s death as part of a plan to capture the would-be killers.
Ukrainian security officials said two people were apprehended as a result of the sting: a Ukrainian man allegedly paid by Russia to facilitate the foiled assassination, and the thwarted gunman himself.
“Thanks to this operation we were able to foil a cynical plot and document how the Russian security service was planning for this crime,” Hyrtsak said.
Babchenko profusely apologised to his friends, his colleagues, and his family for the ordeal, saying “I’m sorry, but there were no other options. The operation was being prepared for two months.”
“I did my job and I’m still alive,” he added.
Video of Babchenko’s workmates watching the triumphant press conference has gone viral.
Реакція журналістів ATR 😍
Відео – Kateryna Lisunova pic.twitter.com/GmkBcXc157
— Радіо Свобода (@radiosvoboda) May 30, 2018
Russia’s foreign ministry has soundly denied any involvement in a plan to kill Babchenko, saying the entire spectacle is merely “fanning anti-Russian hysteria”.