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Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko shocked the world after showing up to a press conference reporting on his own assassination. In what the Ukraine claims was a necessary operation, it appears that Ukrainian security services faked the assassination to capture those planning the Russian’s actual death.
Ukrainian police reported that on Tuesday, May 29th Babchenko was leaving his apartment to buy bread when he was shot three times by an assailant. Covered in what is now known to be pigs blood, Babchenko was loaded into an ambulance where he was reported to have died. The police indicated that it was necessary to make those plotting Babchenko’s death believe they had succeeded. Following the operation, one has been arrested and it is alleged that a list of future targets was discovered.
Babchenko had drawn the ire of Moscow for his anti-Putin rhetoric. He is a well-respected journalist and Russian war correspondent that was forced to leave Russia for Ukraine for fear of assassination. The past decade of Putin’s rule in Russia has been marked with multiple deaths of high profile Russian journalists. Speaking to reporters, Babchenko stated, “I have been forced to bury my friends and colleagues many times, and I know the sickening feeling.”
It appears that not even Babchenko’s own family was in on the ruse as he repeatedly apologized to his wife during the press conference. Colleagues had already begun raising funds to take care of his children and cover funeral expenses. While his fellow journalists were elated to learn he was alive, the saga highlights the risks journalists face. Those critical of Russia and Putin have been some of the most targeted journalists in the west. Russia condemned Ukraine’s operation to stage the death and has called it a failed operation of Ukrainian security services. Meanwhile, Ukraine’s leadership has praised the operation and called it a win for freedom of the press and journalists’ security.