A Russian journalist critical of leader Vladimir Putin was reported Tuesday to have been killed in Kiev, but then he showed up at a news conference in Ukraine on Wednesday.
In fact, Arkady Babchenko appeared at a police news conference, where authorities were expected to give journalists an update on the investigation into his supposed murder, The Guardian reported.
Vasily Gritsak, head of the Ukrainian security service, revealed to the press Wednesday afternoon that Babchenko’s death was an elaborate hoax that had been planned for months.
It was reported earlier this week that the 41-year-old Russian war correspondent was shot three times in the back when he left his apartment to buy bread. A government official, not long after the fabricated attack, falsely reported to the media that Babchenko died in the ambulance on his way to the hospital.
Why did he do it?
Ukrainian officials announced this afternoon Babchenko’s death was a ruse organized by the police. The hoax was part of an investigation into the threats against the Kremlin critic.
And it appears the elaborate effort was at least somewhat successful, as authorities have made one arrest in connection with the operation.
“I have been forced to bury my friends and colleagues many times and I know the sickening feeling,” Babchenko told reporters, noting his wife was not even aware of the morbid plot to fake his death.
“Special apologies to my wife, Olechka, there was no other option,” he continued. “The operation was under preparation for two months.”
Ukrainian politician Anton Geraschenko defended the hoax in a statement, saying, in part, “Those who pour dirt on our law enforcement officers without cause and reason, accusing them of unprofessionalism, today should be ashamed.”