Spies fake journo death to out­wit Russkis

Daily Star - - FRONT PAGE - by MARC WALKER

SPIES faked a Rus­sian jour­nal­ist’s death in a James Bond-style plot.

Arkady Babchenko caused a sen­sa­tion by turn­ing up alive yes­ter­day – but faced awk­ward ques­tions from his wife.

A VLADIMIR Putin critic thought to have been mur­dered by the Krem­lin turned up at a press con­fer­ence and apol­o­gised to his wife.

Jour­nal­ist Arkady Babchenko was re­port­edly gunned down at his flat by an as­sas­sin in a state­backed hit.

But he had faked his death as part of a Ukra­nian ploy to smoke out his Rus­sian hired hit­men.

The dad of six’s wife Olechka found him out­side their apart­ment build­ing in Kiev, Ukraine, “bleed­ing” from what she thought were gun­shot wounds to his back.

She was told he died in an am­bu­lance.

But dur­ing a tele­vised brief­ing in Kiev yes­ter­day, a tear­ful Mr Babchenko said: “Apolo­gies to my wife, Olechka.

“I’m sorry, but there were no other op­tions.

“The oper­a­tion was be­ing pre­pared for two months.

“As the re­sult of the oper­a­tion, a man is taken, he is in cus­tody.”

Urkaine said both the as­sas­sin and

Sorry I didn’t tell the mis­sus

“the or­gan­iser of the mur­der were de­tained”.

Rus­sian-born Mr Babchenko, 41, whose op­po­si­tion to Mr Putin saw him ex­iled in Ukraine, was forbidden from telling his fam­ily about the hoax. He added: “I want to say sorry for what you felt.”

The as­sas­sin, known only as “G”, is said to have re­ceived more than £30,000 to kill Mr Babchenko, a staunch critic of Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Mr Putin. Ukrainian se­cu­rity of­fi­cials said the hit­man had been in the process of buy­ing a vast ar­se­nal of au­to­matic weapons and ammo when he was seized.

Mr Babchenko’s pre­sumed mur­der fooled mil­lions. For­eign Sec­re­tary Boris John­son tweeted: “Ap­palled to see another vo­cal Rus­sian jour­nal­ist, Arkady Babchenko, mur­dered. My thoughts are with his wife and young daugh­ter.” Rus­sian For­eign Min­is­ter Sergei Lavrov ear­lier said he was sorry to hear of the death but de­nied any link to Rus­sia.

THE ST­ING: Babchenko af­ter be­ing ‘shot’ and at press con­fer­ence Live And Let Spy Gold­ma­lin­gerer From Rus­sia With Blood Spy­fall On Ukraine’s Se­cret A View To No Kill Ser­vice For Your Lies Only Moon­faker Blun­der­ball

...and his wife thought he was a Spectre KFG ('# <ID# ?@KJ

SHOCKED: Rus­sian em­bassy in Kiev

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