Organizer of Babchenko 'murder' detained in Kyiv - head of SBU
KYIV. May 30 (Interfax) - Head of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) Vasyl Hrytsak said that an organizer of the "murder" of Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko was detained in Kyiv on Wednesday and that the suspect is a Ukrainian citizen.
"I would like to inform you that about three hours ago, we detained the organizer of this crime in Kyiv. Investigatory actions are underway right now and searches are continuing in several places," Hrytsak said at a press briefing on Wednesday.
According to Hrytsak, the organizer offered $30,000 to an acquaintance of his who had participated in the military operation in eastern Ukraine and gave him $15,000 to commit the crime. The acquaintance agreed.
"Citizen G. offered a man that he knew, a former ATO [Kyiv's special operation in eastern Ukraine] soldier, to commit an act of terror to kill Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko in exchange for $30,000 U.S. dollars," he said.
The organizer of the crime talked about killing 30 people in Ukraine, and the attempted "murder" of Babchenko was just a warm-up, Hrytsak said.
The organizer was tasked with illegally purchasing arms and ammunition with a view to "establishing such bases with arms and ammunition in the central part of Ukraine," he added.
The orders included procurement of 300 Kalashnikov assault rifles, hundreds of kilograms of explosives, "an unlimited quantity of cartridges," grenade launcher ammunition, and mortar shells, Hrytsak said.
"All of this is documented as part of secret investigatory actions," he said.
Ukraine's Prosecutor General Yury Lutsenko said that the veteran who allegedly fired at Babchenko will participate in the criminal case as a witness.
"He will be a witness in the case," Lutsenko said when asked by reporters what is in store for the perpetrator of the crime.
When asked to give details on the operation, Lutseko said, "Yesterday's operative combination includes informing and even the photo that was supposed to make the paymaster and the organizer believe that the order was fulfilled."
Babchenko, whose death from gunshot wounds was reported by the Ukrainian authorities on Tuesday, said earlier on Wednesday that he had gotten involved in a special operation to avert terrorist attacks in Ukraine one month prior to his "killing."