The man accused of ordering Arkady Babchenko's murder says he was working for Ukrainian counterintelligence all along
The man charged with trying to organize the murder of the Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko announced in court on Thursday that he was acting as a Ukrainian counterintelligence agent.
German says he started cooperating with Ukrainian counterintelligence after he was approached by an “old acquaintance” living in Moscow who “works at a Putin foundation, organizing unrest in Ukraine.” German says he was told to learn more about the flow of Russian money into Ukraine funding certain politicians and “terrorist groups.”
According to reports in the Ukrainian media, German said his acquaintance in Russia is named either Vyacheslav Pivovarkin or Vyacheslav Pivovarnik. It’s still unclear if German accuses this person of ordering Babchenko’s murder.
The list received from the “Russian source” in this case (naming the 30 people Moscow supposedly wanted dead) was also handed over to Ukrainian counterintelligence, German says. “We knew there would be a false-flag operation. All that was known. But to get the information from the Russian source, we needed to show them something — some proof that we’d done the job — to win their trust,” German said in court.
He also claimed that Ukrainian counterintelligence agents deliberately offered the Babchenko job to the war veteran Alexey Tsymbalyuk, because he is “a priest” and they knew they could count on him not to murder anyone. “They knew perfectly well when they chose him that he would run straight to the National Security Agency and tell them,” German reasoned.
State prosecutor Ruslan Kravchenko said German’s testimony about working with Ukraine's counterintelligence contradicts the case evidence, “where the suspect’s motive is clearly discernible,” he said. Kravchenko also pointed out that the counterintelligence division is part of the National Security Agency, but he promised to review German’s claims.
The court placed German under arrest for two months, while he awaits trial.