'Murdered' Russian journalist Babchenko appears at a news conference very much alive

Arkady Babchenko's wife reportedly told authorities she believed he was shot because of his professional work

Arkady Babchenko's wife reportedly told authorities she believed he was shot because of his professional work

Babchenko had moved to Kiev in the fall after fleeing Russian Federation, where he was a prominent war correspondent who in recent years had become fiercely critical of the Kremlin.

The 41-year-old had reportedly been shot several times in the back and died in an ambulance on the way to hospital.

"I would like to apologise for what you have all had to go through", Mr Babchenko said to reports this afternoon. "I would like to apologize for what you all had to go through ... because I've buried friends and colleagues many times, and I know it's a sickening-vomiting feeling when you have to bury your colleagues", he said.

He has also stated that the murder of Russian journalist Arkadiy Babchenko was ordered by Russian special forces.

It said it had detained a Ukrainian citizen recruited by Russian Federation to find someone to kill Mr Babchenko.

Mr Gritsak said killing Mr Babchenko was part of a larger alleged plot by Russian security services.

The twist, which could have come straight from a spy thriller, came as Mr Gritsak convened a news conference to announce that the security agency and the police had solved Mr Babchenko's reported killing.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko speaks during a meeting of the country's Security and Defence Council in Kiev, Ukraine May 2, 2018.

"Moscow is hardly likely to settle down", he said. "It is unlikely that Moscow will calm down - I've given an order to provide Arkady and his family with protection".

The Russian Foreign Ministry blamed Ukraine for what it called an "armed assault". Police said Babchenko had been targeted because of his work. A police composite portrait even described the "killer" as a tall man with a grey beard, in his 40s.

Some journalism-related organizations strongly criticized the faked killing, calling it "distressing".

"It is always deeply risky that states play with the facts - moreover on the backs of journalists".

Vasily Gritsak, the head of Ukraine's security service, told reporters that the operation had been planned for two months.

Babchenko fled Russian Federation for Prague before settling in Kiev previous year following repeated threats against his family.

Arkady Babchenko at the press conference in Kyiv.

He faced backlash after commenting on the crash of a Russian plane transporting the world-famous military choir Alexandrov Ensemble en route to Syria. "I used to be a good soldier", Babchenko wrote in 2017. "I will try to do this".

Ukrainian officials led by Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman had accused Russian Federation of being behind the killing of the Kremlin critic, a charge that Moscow batted back.

Kiev has in recent years seen a number of deadly attacks on high-profile journalists and politicians. "That's why his murder is openly provocative".

The Committee to Protect Journalists tweeted a statement skeptical of the sting operation. Violent crimes and total impunity have become routine for the Kiev regime. "Ukrainian authorities must disclose what necessitated the extreme measure of staging news of the Russian journalist's murder".

A top lawmaker says Russia is willing to help Ukraine investigate the murder of a Russian journalist.

Another renowned journalist, Pavel Sheremet, a native of Belarus who had worked for Russian media outlets in the past, was killed in a auto bombing in central Kiev in July 2016.

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