News & Opinion | May 30, 2018 12:00 pm

Russian Journalist Faked His Own Death to Help Catch Assassin Hired to Kill Him

Ukraine's security services falsely reported the journalist's death to foil a plot against his life.

Arkady Babchenko
Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko, right, and Vasily Gritsak, head of the Ukrainian Security Service speaks to the media during a news conference at the Ukrainian Security Service on Wednesday, May 30, 2018. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
AP

It was a bizarre twist, right out of a Hollywood thriller. On Wednesday, Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko, who had reportedly been shot and killed in Ukraine the day before, showed up at a press conference, very much alive and well. He appeared alongside Vasily Gritsak, head of the Ukrainian Security Service, who explained that the agency faked Babchenko’s death to unmask the conspiracy that was planning to murder him.

Kiev and national police previously reported that Babchenko, a strong critic of the Kremlin, had been shot multiple times in the back at his apartment building and found bleeding by his wife. But on Wednesday, he showed up at the news conference and thanked everyone for mourning his death. Even more strangely, Babchenko apologized to his wife and children, who he said had not been made aware that his reported death was just a ruse.

Babchenko, 41, is one of Russia’s best known war reporters. He has previously spoken about leaving the country because of repeated threats that his family would be harmed.