Arkady Babchenko, a Russian journalist who was reportedly killed in Kyiv on May 29 and widely mourned, stood up alive at the office of Ukraine’s State Security Service on May 30, claiming his death was faked in a special operation to capture the actual killer.

Babchenko thanked the security services of Ukraine and asked his friends and his wife to forgive him for the suffering they had to endure thinking that he had been dead.

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“I want to say sorry for what you felt. I had to bury my friends and colleagues many times,” Babchenko told the journalists present at the televised briefing at the SBU office.

Babchenko is a famous Russian journalist and a critic of the regime of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Babchenko had to leave Russia due to threats in February 2017. He lived in Prague for several months before settling in Kyiv in August.

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According to the SBU, the Russian special services ordered the murder of Babchenko and paid an unnamed Ukrainian citizen, $40,000 to organize the murder. He searched for a killer to perform the murder among the Ukrainian veterans of the war in Donbas. According to the SBU, he eventually hired a man, paying him $30,000 for the murder, but the SBU learned about the operation, recruited the hired “killer” as a double agent and stage the murder in order to arrest the organizer.

The Ukrainian organizer was detained following the staged murder. According to the SBU, he was going to organize killings of 30 Russian citizens in Ukraine on Russian special services’ order, with Babchenko being the first one.

The video released by the Security Service of Ukraine shows the man who allegedly tried to organize the murder of Arkady Babchenko on the order of the Russian special services being detained by the Security Service agents on the street in Kyiv. (Special Security Service of Ukraine)

Babchenko was in on the special operation for about a month.

The murder was faked in Babchenko’s apartment in Kyiv. His wife heard gunshots and walked in on him lying on the floor, covered in blood. She called the police and an ambulance. Babchenko was reported to have died in an ambulance car.

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