Prominent Russian journalist who criticised Kremlin shot dead in Kiev

Arkady Babchenko

Arkady Babchenko

Ukrainian state news said Tuesday that the 41-year-old journalist had been "shot in the back at his home" and died during ambulance transport. He in turn had hired a gunman. "I've done my work", he said.

"I have buried friends and colleagues and I know the sickening feeling".

"Special apologies to my wife, Olechka, there was no other option", he continued.

Russia's foreign ministry has soundly denied any involvement in a plan to kill Babchenko, saying the entire spectacle is merely "fanning anti-Russian hysteria". He apologized to his wife for putting her through a "nightmare", but said there was no other alternative to playing dead. Lawmaker Anton Gerashchenko, an adviser to the interior minister, said the assailant had waited on a staircase in the building and shot Babchenko in the back as he was going to buy bread.

Tweet reads: Arkady Babchenko is alive!

The next day, however, Babchenko appeared alive and well at a police press conference, revealing that his death had been faked in order to uncover an assassination plot against him.

The SBU Security Service of Ukraine reported that the killing had been ordered by Russia's FSB security service.

"I'm glad he is alive, but he undermined even further the credibility of journalists and the media", he added.

The surprise came as Gritsak held the news conference to announce that Ukrainian police had solved the reported killing.

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Hyrtsak told reporters the Ukrainian security service had received information indicating Russian Federation wanted Babchenko dead, and that they conspired to fake Babchenko's death as part of a plan to capture the would-be killers.

"The actions apparently designed for a certain propagandistic effect have directly ended up in the entire world to be hoodwinked after it had responded lively to news from Ukraine on a journalist's killing", the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

Outside the apartment where Arkady Babchenko wasn't killed, people wept as though he was. "Ukrainian authorities must disclose what necessitated the extreme measure of staging news of the Russian journalist's murder".

Ilya Ponomarev, a former Russian lawmaker who also moved to Ukraine, said Babchenko continued to be threatened after he settled previous year in Kiev, where he worked as a host for the Crimean Tatar TV station. It was not immediately clear if she had been involved in the plot or not.

Babchenko served in the Russian army and fought during the first separatist war in Chechnya during the 1990s.

Anti-Kremlin Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko speaks in Kiev on May 30, 2018. The Russian government had demanded on Tuesday that Ukraine conduct a full investigation into his death, though many in Kiev suspected at the time that Russians were behind it.

In Kiev, he hosted a programme on the Crimean Tatar TV station ATR.

The astonishing turn of events brought harsh criticism from Russian Federation and the worldwide media advocacy group Reporters Without Borders.

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