In response to the head of Ukraine’s Security Service announcing today that authorities faked the death of Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko in Kyiv as part of an operation to catch gunmen who planned to assassinate him, Freedom House released the following statement:

“We are relieved to know that Babchenko is alive and well, a day after Ukrainian police said he had been shot and killed near his apartment,” said Marc Behrendt, director of Europe and Eurasia programs at Freedom House. “Ukraine’s government had gone so far as to speak at the United Nations Security Council about Babchenko’s murder, and it drew comment from members of Ukraine’s parliament, the Council of Europe, and organizations devoted to press freedom, including Freedom House. Babchenko and the head of Ukraine’s Security Service say that the faked death was part of an operation to track down real would-be assassins. The threats to journalists in the region remain very real.”

Ukraine is rated Partly Free in Freedom in the World 2018, Partly Free in Freedom of the Press 2017, and Partly Free in Freedom on the Net 2017, and receives a democracy score of 4.64, on a scale of 1 to 7, with 7 as the worst possible score, in Nations in Transit 2018.

Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.

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