Culture&Arts

Kremlin critic turns up alive at televised briefing about his 'murder'

Kremlin critic turns up alive at televised briefing about his 'murder'

Ilya Ponomarev, a former Russian lawmaker who also moved to Ukraine, said Mr Babchenko continued to be threatened after he settled past year in Kiev, where he worked as a host for the Crimean Tatar TV station.

Vasily Gritsak, head of the Ukrainian Security Service, told reporters that the agency faked Babchenko's death as part of the elaborate bluff.

A dissident Russian journalist who was reported murdered in Kiev dramatically reappeared alive on Wednesday in the middle of a briefing about his own killing by the Ukrainian state security service.

"Some called for me to be stripped of citizenship, others are making an online game where you can beat me to death", he said.

Arkady Babchenko died of his wounds in an ambulance after his wife found him covered in blood in their home, police said on Tuesday, adding they suspected the murder was due to Babchenko's professional activities.

One person is reportedly in Ukrainian custody, but the news has prompted confusion in Ukraine and a backlash from Russian Federation which was widely accused of ordering Babchenko murder.

A well-known Kremlin critic, Mr Babchenko stood in unofficial elections organised by the opposition in 2012 and denounced Russia's actions in Syria and eastern Ukraine.

"I apologize to my wife".

Foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said it was "great news" that Babchenko was alive but on Twitter she slammed the "propagandistic effect" of the set-up.

He left Russian Federation a year ago after receiving death threats and being denounced by pro-Kremlin politicians over his criticism of the Syrian and Ukrainian wars.

Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko, centre, with the head of Ukraine's security service Vasyl Grytsak, left, and prosecutor general Yuri Lutsenko.

Tweet reads: Arkady Babchenko is alive! Hrytsak said Russian Federation had sought to pay $40,000 for his death and that those behind the real assassination plot had been apprehended. Prominent Russians to have been murdered in Kiev include journalist Pavel Sheremet, who was killed in a auto bomb in 2016, and ex-Russian lawmaker Denis Voronenkov, who was shot dead in 2017.

Earlier today the Kremlin had described the allegation by Ukraine that it was behind the murder of Mr Babchenko as an anti-Russian smear. Russian officials also criticized Ukraine for failing to provide adequate protection to journalists.

In December 2016, Babchenko wrote a Facebook post (in Russian) about a crashed Tu-154 transport plane, which went into the Black Sea while carrying a Red Army choir to Syria.

Babchenko left Russian Federation in February 2017 after receiving threats, living first in the Czech Republic, then in Israel, before moving to Kiev. The hoax was part of an investigation into the threats against the Kremlin critic.


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