Published: Sat, June 02, 2018
Global | By Enrique Rogers

Ukraine president says will protect Russian journalist after plot

Ukraine president says will protect Russian journalist after plot

Babchenko, one of Russia's best-known war reporters, has spoken and written about leaving Russian Federation because of threats he and his family faced and finally relocated to Ukraine, according to AP.

Police initially reported that Babchenko had been shot in the back while leaving his Kiev apartment and died en route to the hospital.

Ukraine Interior Minister Anton Gerashchenko wrote on Facebook the Security Service went to great lengths to fake Babchenko's death.

He said it had received information about a Russian plot and managed to prevent it.

Ukraine's Security Service said the operation foiled a real attempt against Babchenko's life. "Olechka, I'm sorry, but there were no options here either".

"I apologize to my wife".

Mr Babchenko had lived in the Ukrainian capital after receiving threats at home for saying he did not mourn the victims of a Russian military plane crash.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman described Mr Babchenko as a "true friend of Ukraine, who was telling the world about Russian aggression".

Reporters Without Borders condemned Wednesday the staging of a murder of an anti-Kremlin journalist in Ukraine as a "pathetic stunt". He was a sharp critic of Russia's annexation of Crimea and its intervention in east Ukraine, according to press reports.

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He said a hitman was paid to carry out the killing after being recruited by Russian special forces.

Konstantin Kosachev, head of the worldwide affairs committee of the upper house of the Russian parliament, compared Ukraine's allegations to Britain's claims that Moscow was behind the nerve gas poisonings of a Russian former spy and his daughter in England.

Babchenko said, in turn, that the pay for his contract killing was set at US$40,000.

"I did my job and I'm still alive".

Babchenko is a well-known critic of Russia's policies toward Ukraine.

In a statement following Babchenko's big reveal Wednesday, the Committee to Protect Journalists urged authorities to explain the reasoning behind the staged death in greater detail.

No stranger to death, Babchenko served in the Russian army during Chechnya's two wars for independence, after which he wrote a powerful memoir about the everyday brutality of conflict before turning to journalism, writing about war for a range of Russian publications. Russia's high commissioner for human rights, Tatiana Moskalkova, promised to address Ukrainian authorities, urging them to pay special attention to the investigation of the journalist's murder.

Former Russian state television journalist Pavel Sheremet was killed by a auto bomb in July 2016 while driving near his home in Kiev.

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