SBU prevents ordered by Russia’s special services contract killing of journalist Arkadiy Babchenko – Vasyl Hrytsak
Officers of the Security Service of Ukraine thwarted the plot of Russian special services on killing the Russian journalist Arkadiy Babchenko. The information was stated by Vasyl Hrytsak, the Head of the SBU, at a joint briefing with the Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko and the head of the National Police Sergey Knyazev.
The killing of Arkady Babchenko, a Russian journalist, was ordered by the Russian intelligence services, SBU says. “The cynicism of the Russian “Chekists” is so tremendous that already within an hour after the first information stab about the assassination attempt on Babchenko's life, the Investigation Committee of Russian Federation initiated a criminal case,” the SBU Head noted. The Russians began to demand from Ukraine a quick investigation into the “murder of the Russian citizen”, including at a UN Security Council meeting, he says.
The SBU operatives established that preparing for a terrorist act against Babchenko was only one element of the plot devised by Russian special services for physical elimination of Russian citizens who, because of their political beliefs, were forced to leave Russia and now live in Ukraine or other European states - first of all, public activists and journalists who publicly criticize the current government of the Russian Federation.
The Ukrainian security service has documented that for the implementation of this cynical plan, Russia’s special services recruited a citizen of Ukraine “G” who was tasked to find, for a payment, the executors for a number of large-impact terrorist acts. “In pursuance of the task of the Russian special services, he proposed to his friend, a former member of the ATO in the east of Ukraine, to execute, for $30,000, the contract kill on a Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko. He has already transferred a deposit of $15,000,” said Vasyl Hrytsak.
On top of money, the organizer received from Russia’s special services and transferred to the executor through a messenger the dossier on Arkadiy Babchenko, with detailed information about his journalistic activities and private life, including personal data on Babchenko himself, his wife, parents and children, their phone numbers and bank accounts, social networks accounts, passport data. “The Russian intelligence agencies tasked the organizer with another ‘project’: using the money of Russia’s special services, buy on the black market weapons and ammunition from the ATO region and organize caches on the territory of the Kyiv region,” the SBU Chairman said.
During the special operation, the Security Service of Ukraine managed not only to disrupt the cynical provocation, but also to document the preparation of this horrid crime by the Russian special services. The SBU received in advance the information about the preparation of an assassination attempt on Arkady Babchenko and the search for murder executors. “We decided to run an operative combination that enabled us to get undisputed evidence of the terrorist activity of Russia’s special services in Ukraine,” said Vasyl Hrytsak.
Attorney General of Ukraine Yuriy Lutsenko thanked the SBU staff and other law enforcement agencies for their professionalism. “We once again exposed Russian spies and warmongers on the organization of terrorist attacks and assassinations on the territory of Ukraine,” he said.
SBU investigators drafted a suspicion to the organizer of the crime commissioned by the Russian special services, accusing him in aiding in commitment of the terrorist act, use of weapons, commitment of an explosion and other actions that endangered life or health of a person in order to violate public safety and intimidate the population, which could lead to death of a person, that is, in criminal offense stipulated by Part 1 of Art. 14, part 5 of Art. 27, part 3 of Art. 258 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine.
Pre-trial investigation is under way.
SBU Press Centre
For the Attention of the SBU Head