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He's alive: 'Death' of Russian journalist was allegedly part of a plot by Ukrainian officials

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Formerly "dead" Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko has appeared alive and well at a news conference this afternoon.

Ukrainian officials said Babchenko faking his death was part of a sting operation to catch and arrest people who really had threatened his life. As a result of this plot, one person has been captured.

“Special apologies to my wife, Olechka. I am sorry, but there were no options here,” Babchenko said at the news conference. His wife apparently did not know about the plot.

Following reports late Tuesday night that he was killed, many news outlets wrote articles about his "death".

Ukrainian police confirmed his alleged death to media last night. He was reported to have been shot on his porch in Kiev.

Police told reporter that his ‘murder’ was likely tied to his reporting.

Babchenko, 41, appeared to have been shot several times in the back outside his home and was found by his wife. He ‘died’ in an ambulance on the way to the hospital.

His work was highly critical of the Russian government and military. He is a war correspondent, as well as a war veteran.  

This plot also served to highlight the danger Russian journalists critical of the government face. This ‘murder’ fit into a pattern of Russian journalists who have truly died for their reporting and politicians who have died for their work.

In the past few years, people including politician Denis Voronenkov, journalist and human rights activist Anna Politkovskaya and journalist Anastasia Baburova have all been killed in Kiev.

Babchenko posted on Facebook in 2016 about a Russian plane carrying a military choir that crashed on its way to perform in Syria. In this post, Babchenko called Russia an aggressor and criticized Russia’s bombings in Aleppo.

He also wrote a piece for the Guardian last year about this post and the effects it had on his life.

He said many people in Russia considered this post to be highly unpatriotic, with politicians, court officials and propaganda outlets calling for action to be taken against him. A change.org petition was also circulated, gaining more than 179,000 signatures.

Additionally, Babchenko said he had received many death threats.

As a result, he wrote that, “Like many dissidents I am used to abuse, but a recent campaign against me was so personal, so scary, that I was forced to flee.”

After fleeing Russia, he moved first to Prague and then Kiev in 2017.

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