Story By:Sergey Panashchuk, Sub Editor:Joseph Golder, Agency: Central European News
The ‘murdered’ Ukrainian journalist critical of the Kremlin who faked his death in order to help cops catch an assassin has told the British media to “go f*ck themselves” over criticism of the stunt.
Arkady Babchenko, 41, who shocked people when he turned up at a press conference still alive, after earlier reports of his death at the hands of a Kremlin-backed assassin, posted the statement on his Facebook page.
He said: “The British media is questioning whether there is really more harm than good that came from what I did? Dear British press, would you please go and f*ck yourselves? If you want to do something useful however, you can give me a British passport and British protection. Then you will have the right to teach me how I should save myself and my family. F*cking smart-a*ses!”
A considerable portion of the British media warned that the stunt might have done more harm than good, including Lindsey Hilsum, the international editor for Channel 4 News, who tweeted: “So now every time a journalist is murdered, those responsible will unleash their bots and propagandists to say it’s fake news.
“Thanks, Ukrainian security services. That’s really helpful to all who care about journalists’ safety.”
Leonid Ragozin, a former BBC and Russian Newsweek journalist, tweeted: “Babchenko’s death turns out to be fake news of the century.
“A mindless and tragic mistreatment of public empathy that discredits so many things at once – Ukraine, Russian liberals, journalists. Only Kremlin wins.”
Sun journalist John Lucas added: “This will be a massive propaganda boost for Putin and his supporters and doesn’t do much to help journos also facing threats.”
The row follows on from claims now known to be false that Russian anti-Putin journalist Arkady Babchenko had been shot in the back by an unidentified killer at his home in Kiev one year after fleeing Russia over concerns for his safety.
Babchenko, 41, was apparently seen lying in a pool of his own blood minutes after being gunned down. International media who reported on the story noted Babchenko was a fierce critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, in particular of Russia’s military intervention in the Ukraine and Syria, suggesting they may have been behind the ‘killing’.
But when he turned up alive, the former soldier said it had been necessary to deceive even his wife, daughter and six adopted children in order to capture the man who allegedly ordered the assassination, and who has since been arrested and named only as ‘Mister G.’, according to reports.