SURPRISE

‘Murdered’ Russian Journalist Arkady Babchenko Alive, Faked Death

Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko appeared alive and well at a press conference Wednesday, a day after he was reportedly slain. His death was faked as part of a Ukrainian Security Service operation, Babchenko revealed. The operation allegedly involved capturing a Ukrainian recruited by “Russian security forces” to hire hitmen to kill Babchenko for $30,000, according to BBC News. One of them revealed the plot to security forces, setting the plan in motion. The payment was caught on film by Ukrainian law enforcement, and the Russian recruit was captured. “Special apologies to my wife. Olechka, I am sorry, but there were no options here, Babchenko reportedly said during the press conference. “The operation took two months to prepare. I was told a month ago.” Babchenko’s death, which was said to have taken place on Tuesday night in Kiev, came as a shock in the region and the world. He is a “prominent correspondent who covered regional conflicts” and had left Russia last year after “receiving death threats and being denounced by pro-Kremlin politicians,” The Moscow Times reports. “It's of course great news that Babchenko is alive,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told Meduza. “The shame is that this masquerade hasn't worked out in other cases.”