'Murdered' Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko turns up alive after faking own death

'Murdered' Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko turns up alive after faking own death

A Russian journalist critical of President Vladimir Putin appeared at a press conference in Ukraine on Wednesday after being declared dead on Tuesday.

The remarks on Wednesday came in response to the news that the shooting death of Arkady Babchenko on Tuesday had been staged by Ukraine's national security service, SBU.

"Olechka, I am terribly sorry", he said, addressing her at the press conference, "but there were no other options".

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.

News of the "death" of the prominent Russian war correspondent and former soldier set off a series of recriminations between Kiev and Moscow, and pictures and flowers were laid by mourners at the Russian embassy in Kiev.

Well known for being a critic of the Kremlin, he also stood in unofficial elections organised by the opposition in 2012, and also denounced Russia's actions in Syria and eastern Ukraine.

To applause and gasps, Babchenko took the floor and apologized to the friends and family who mourned for him and were unaware of the plan. "Law enforcement couldn't fail to understand that news of Arkady Babchenko's murder would bring pain to thousands of hearts around the world".

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Mr Babchenko, 41, emerged at a police press conference this afternoon in front of journalists, who had been expecting updates on the investigation into his murder.

The Committee to Protect Journalists revealed it is investigating the "unprecedented" situation as it said: "We are relieved that Arkady Babchenko is alive". The Chief of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), Vasyl Hrytsak, said the operation had been planned for two months. The incident will also resonate beyond the ex-communist space after the nerve-agent attack on a Russian double agent and his daughter in the United Kingdom this year triggered diplomatic expulsions around the world.

Ukrainian authorities had released a drawing of the man they suspect is Babchenko's assassin, around 40-45 years old, with a grey beard and wearing a cap.

"This is the last post of Arkady Babchenko".

Mr Babchenko fought in the Russian army in Chechnya, and then became a war reporter for several Russian newspapers. Babchenko had to leave Russian Federation due to threats in February 2017.

Russian authorities furiously denied the blame, with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov saying it was "very sad" Moscow had been accused of murdering the reporter.

Investigators in Moscow are set to begin their own probe into the killing, vowing not to "turn a blind eye" to crimes committed against Russian citizens.

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