Some of the most prominent newspapers across the Western World spent much of the end of May editing or deleting humiliating headlines and articles falsely announcing the supposed death of Russian media figure Arkady Babchenko – who turned up very much alive and well shortly after the Ukrainian government claimed he was murdered by assassins.
The humiliation suffered across the Western media also stems from the fact that most articles also included preliminary accusations against Russia for the “murder” – a now familiar pattern of assigning immediate and baseless blame, evident after the 2014 downing of Malaysian airliner MH17 and the more recent Skripal affair.
Blame was not limited to the unprofessional and increasingly exposed Western media. The Ukrainian government itself would go as far as directly accusing Russia from the highest levels of political power in Kiev.
The BBC in its article, “Ukraine blames Russia for journalist murder,” would note that even Ukraine’s prime minster accused Russia of the supposed “murder,” stating (emphasis added):
Ukraine’s Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman has accused Russia of being behind the killing in Kiev of the Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko.
“I am confident that the Russian totalitarian machine did not forgive him his honesty and principled stance,” the prime minister posted on Facebook.
Yet shortly after the announcement of Babchenko’s death and as accusations began to mount against Russia – the Ukrainian government announced that his death was staged by Ukrainian security services.
Ukraine’s government now claims that the staged murder was in response to an allegedly “genuine” threat to Babchenko’s life.
The Guardian would elaborate in their article, “Arkady Babchenko reveals he faked his death to thwart Moscow plot,” claiming:
Details of the precise threat to Babchenko’s life were murky. Vasyl Hrytsak, the head of the SBU, said Russia’s spy agencies had contacted a middleman, identified only as G, and paid him $40,000 to arrange the murder. The middleman in turn approached a former Ukrainian volunteer soldier to carry out the hit, together with additional “terrorist acts”, he said.
The middleman was now in custody, Hrytsak said, showing video of a middle-aged,