Russian Federation rejects claim it was behind dissident journalist’s killing

Clay Curtis
May 30, 2018

In a stunning twist, a well-known Russian journalist who Ukrainian authorities said was shot and killed in the capital of Kiev Tuesday showed up alive Wednesday, with Ukrainian security services saying they faked his death.

Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko was shot dead in Kiev on Tuesday.

Ukrainian police circulated the Babchenko killer's suspect sketch showing 40-45 years old man with grey beard.

"Ukraine is becoming the most unsafe country for reporters", the Russian lawmaker Yevgeny Revenko said in remarks carried by RIA Novosti, the state news agency.

But in a stunning development, he appeared alongside Ukrainian security officials in a news conference broadcast live on Ukrainian television Wednesday afternoon.

The Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, has rejected a Ukrainian allegation that Moscow was behind the murder of a dissident Russian journalist in Kiev, calling it part of an anti-Russian campaign, according to Russian media reports.

Babchenko, a veteran Russian war correspondent, was shot three times in the back as he left his apartment to buy bread.

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Prominent journalist Pavel Sheremet was killed in Kiev on July 20, 2016, when an explosive device detonated under the auto he was driving.

Before ushering Babchenko into the room, Gritsak said the Ukrainian allegedly recruited by Russian agents to kill the reporter had hired an acquaintance to be the gunman. Several Ukrainian politicians blamed the Kremlin for the killing. "We demand that the Ukrainian authorities make every effort to promptly investigate", it said on Facebook.

He went on to thank the Ukrainian Security Service, the SBU, for saving his life and said the most important thing was that what he called other big acts of terror had been thwarted.

He had faced political harassment after writing a Facebook post critical of Russia's military action in Syria and describing the "indifference" he felt upon learning of a plane crash that killed members of a famous military choir.

He has hosted a programme on the Crimean Tatar TV station ATR for the past year.

Babchenko made a name for himself with his poignant reportages from the frontlines, including the conflict in eastern Ukraine that has killed more than 10,000 people. Babchenko wrote he was, therefore, marking the day as his "second birthday".

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