Netizen 24 IRL: Prominent Russian journalist reported to have been killed shows up alive at press conference

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Prominent Russian journalist reported to have been killed shows up alive at press conference

Prominent Russian journalist reported to have been killed shows up alive at press conference

Arkady Babchenko, 41, has turned up at a press conference, hours after reports emerged that he had died (AP Photo/Alexander Baroshin)
Arkady Babchenko, 41, has turned up at a press conference, hours after reports emerged that he had died (AP Photo/Alexander Baroshin)
Ukrainian police officers guard in the entrance to a house where Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko was "fatally shot" Photo: REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko
Independent.ie Newsdesk

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Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko, who was reported to have been killed in Kiev, has shown up at a news conference in Ukraine very much alive.

Vasily Gritsak, head of the Ukrainian Security Service, told reporters that the agency faked Mr Babchenko's death to catch those who are trying to kill him.

According to reports, Arkady Babchenko died on the way to hospital after his wife found him bleeding at their apartment building in Kiev yesterday.

Police said the 41-year-old died of multiple gunshots wounds to his back. Now, social media is swimming with theories behind the reports of his death.

Kiev Police chief Andriy Krishchenko said in televised comments after his "dea th" that Mr Babchencko’s “professional activities” were a factor.

Harlem Desir, the media freedom representative at the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, said he was “horrified” by Mr Babchenko’s "death".

“I call on Ukraine authorities to conduct immediate & full investigation,” he tweeted yesterday.

The Committee to Protect Journalists in New York said on Twitter that “Ukrainian authorities should conduct a swift and thorough investigation” into the apparent murder.

Following his apparent death, it was reported that the 41-year-old was scathingly critical of the Kremlin’s policies, assailing Moscow’s annexation of Crimea, its support for separatist insurgents in eastern Ukraine and the Russian campaign in Syria.

Ukrainian and Russian officials immediately traded finger-pointing over his "death".

Anton Gerashchenko, a Ukrainian MP who serves as an adviser to the i nterior minister, said on Facebook that investigators would be looking at “Russian spy agencies’ efforts to get rid of those who are trying to tell the truth about what is going on in Russia and Ukraine”.

Mr Gerashchenko said Mr Babchenko’s killer was waiting for him on the staircase inside the journalist’s building and shot him in the back as he was going out to buy bread.

In Moscow, officials and MPs criticised Ukrainian authorities for their alleged failure to protect journalists.

Background

Mr Babchenko served in the Russian army and fought during the first separatist war in Chechnya during the 1990s. He later became a journalist and worked as a military correspondent for several Russian media outlets. He also published several books based on his wartime experiences.

Some of his articles and posts outraged many Russians. In one, he said he felt no regret about the deaths of Russian army choir members and ot hers from a December 2016 plane crash as they were heading to perform before Russian troops in Syria. Some even called for stripping Mr Babchenko of his Russian citizenship.

Mr Babchenko left Russia in February 2017, saying he was receiving threats and concerned he might be jailed.

He moved to Kiev last autumn, where he worked as a host for the Crimean Tatar TV station, ATR.

He appeared at a press conference in Ukraine this morning after his reported "death" yesterday.

Press Association

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