In a totally surreal turn of events, less than 24 hours after it was reported that prominent Russian war journalist Arkadi Babchenko had been assassinated outside of his home in Kiev, he had risen from the dead. He was reported by the Ukrainian government to have died of three gunshot wounds to the back while being transported to a hospital in the back of an ambulance. Babchenko, who is the author of a beloved memoir of his war service in Chechnya, and who had fled to Kiev from his native Russia last year, stunned the post-Soviet world when he appeared alive and well at a Kiev press conference yesterday in a black hoody. The journalist appeared to be unscathed, standing with Vasyl Hrytsak, the head of the SBU, Ukraine’s main intelligence agency.
Learning several months ago of an impending assassination attempt on the high-profile journalist, the Ukrainian intelligence service created an audacious sting operation to entrap both the killer and the Russian agent who was organizing the attempted hit. The SBU chief released details of the plot, which was allegedly executed by an eastern Ukrainian separatist who was to have been paid $30,000 for the hit by Russian agents. Another $10,000 were promised to a middleman who found the assassin. The Ukrainian president thanked the SBU for having a tremendous success, and the interior minister smirked over yesterday’s accusations that the Ukrainian state was not capable of defending people living on its territory.
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