By Scott Taylor
On Tuesday 29 May, Ukrainian officials announced that Arkady Babchenko had been shot and killed in his apartment. Dramatic photos were released showing Babchenko’s body lying in a pool of blood. His distraught wife was inconsolable.
Babchenko is a Russian Journalist who had been vehemently critical of the Kremlin, and of President Vladimir Putin in particular. Naturally enough all fingers pointed the blame at Putin.
An eyewitness described the suspect to a Police sketch artist and the likeness was matched to an alleged Russian Secret Service assassin who had recently entered Kyiv.
Boris Johnson, Britain’s Foreign Minister tweeted out “Appalled to see another vocal Russian Journalist, Arkady Babchenko, murdered. My thoughts are with his wife and young daughter. We must defend freedom of speech and it is vital that those responsible are now held to account.”
Tributes to Babchenko poured in from around the world and his career was eulogized in the media by his shaken colleagues. First Putin and his henchmen were alleged to have attempted to kill former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in the United Kingdom, and now we have a Journalist gunned down by a Putin hitman in Kyiv. Crazy stuff.
Then came the even crazier part. On Thursday 31 May, a very much alive Babchenko hosted a press conference to explain that the whole fake death thing was an elaborate hoax perpetrated by the Ukrainian security service.
The bizarre explanation as to why Babchenko fooled even his own wife with his staged assassination was that it was necessary in order for Ukrainian intelligence to thwart a real assassination attempt ordered by that evil bastard Putin.
Apparently Babchenko and company poked some holes in a t-shirt to resemble bullet hole and then poured pig’s blood over the ‘corpse’.
A paramedic team, who were in on the scam, whisked Babchenko first to a hospital and then to a morgue. He then spent two days watching himself being lionized in the media while his distraught wife mourned his loss.
No doubt he was elated at the fact that Putin was fingered as his killer, and dupes like Boris Johnson so eagerly took the phony bait and immediately weighed in on bringing Putin to justice.
Now we know that Putin not only didn’t order the killing, but that the crime never happened. More astoundingly, Babchenko, himself a Jounalist, does not seem to understand that he was a willing party to creating ‘fake news’.
His claim that he only agreed to this ridiculous scheme out of fear for his life from the alleged ‘real threat’ still makes no sense. No Ukrainian official has yet been able to explain how faking Babchenko’s death could possibly save him from future attacks – especially when 48 hours later, he tells the world he’s alive.
The Kyiv court did order a suspect, Borys Herman, detained for two months for his connection to the alleged plot to kill Babchenko. For his part, Herman, a weapons manufacturer, claims that there was never any intent to kill Babchenko, and he was always acting in the interest of Ukraine.
What is not ‘fake’ is the fact that for two days, the world believed that Babchenko was dead, and that Putin was responsible. Hopefully this will be the case of Ukraine fooling us once – shame on them, and in future media will be far less willing to accept such fabrications at face value, lest the shame be on them.
For the record, the case against Russia being behind the Skripal attack is hinged on U.K Prime Minister Theresa May’s claim that no one else had a motive. It would seem clear now that Ukrainian intelligence will go so far as to pretend to kill a Journalist in order to demonize Russia.
Oh, and as a former Soviet Union Republic, Ukraine would have also had access to the nerve agent ‘Novichok’ the poison allegedly used on the Skripals. Just saying.