KIEV, May 31. /TASS/. Shevchenkovsky district court in Kiev has arrested for two months a man suspected of an attempt on the life of the Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko, who lives in a self-imposed exile in Kiev since August 2017.
"The court answers the request [to authorize arrest] and authorize custody for a period of 60 days without bail," the judge said.
The arrestee is Boris Lvovich Gherman, the director of a Ukrainian-German enterprise for manufacturing Schmeisser weapons.
Gherman said in the courtroom that he was cooperating with Ukrainian counterintelligence and no assassination of Babchenko had ever been planned.
"We’re faced with the aftermath of the Ukrainian intelligence services’ special operation now," he said. "I’m cooperating with the intelligence services on exposure of Russia’s efforts on this country’s territory to replace state power. I’m doing this for quite some time now - for about half a year."
He claimed he had connections with a high-rank individual in Moscow but he refused to provide more details on his role as a double agent.
Gherman also claimed he knew a simulation of Babchenko’s murder was forthcoming. "This was known in advance but to get some information from a Russian source, we had to show some imitation of working here so that they would trust us," he said.
Gherman’s lawyers said vital evidence was absent from the case on the alleged attempt on Babchenko.
"The case papers don’t contain a single evidence of or fact on preparations for a terrorist act and everything is centered around prosecutorial concoctions," lawyer Yevgeny Solodko said.
Kiev police said on Tuesday night that Babchenko, a Russian citizen living in a self-imposed exile in Kiev since August 2017, had been shot and killed in his apartment. The SBU state security service said on Wednesday, however, the simulated assassination was part of a sting operation to prevent a real murder of the journalist.
SBU chief Vasily Gritsak told reporters at a news briefing Babchenko was safe and sound, after which the journalist appeared in front of the reporters in person.
Quite expectedly, Gritsak claimed the Russian security services had plotted an assault on Babchenko but the mastermind of the crime had been arrested earlier on the same day.
According to Gritsak’s allegations, the mastermind had the task of eliminating 30 people in Ukraine and the killing of Babchenko would be a trial test.