Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko alive and well

Russian journalist Arkadiy Babchenko killed in Kiev

Russian journalist Arkadiy Babchenko killed in Kiev

To applause and gasps of surprise from those at the news conference, Mr Babchenko apologised for what people had been through, and thanked everyone who had been mourning his death.

Ukrainian police said on Tuesday that Mr Babchenko, a strong critic of the Kremlin, was shot multiple times in the back and found bleeding there by his wife.

Babchenko ended the news conference by saying, "I've done my work". "I know that sickening feeling when you bury a colleague". "I'm sorry for making you live through this. But there was no other way".

Babchenko's fakery drew sharp criticism from Russian and the global media advocacy group Reporters Without Borders.

Agency Chief Vasily Gritsak said the killing was ordered by "Russian special services" and there was "indisputable evidence of the terrorist activity of Russian special forces in Ukraine".

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov described allegations by Ukrainian government officials that Moscow was behind the murder as "the height of cynicism" and said he hoped other countries would lean on Kiev to do more to protect journalists. According to the journalist, he was tipped off a month ago by a source who said Russia's Federal Security Service was plotting an assassination attempt.

Neither he nor Vasyl Gritsak, head of the Ukrainian Security Service, provided details of how they staged Mr Babchenko's injuries or made his wife believe he was dead. He says a Ukrainian citizen allegedly paid $40,000 to arrange the hit has been arrested.

"Andrei Soldatov, editor of the Agentura.Ru web site, said: ".to me, it's crossing a line big time.

In particular he said sorry to his wife, who detectives had earlier said they were unable to speak to because she was suffering from shock.

The Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko announced that his country would be offering Babchenko protection. "I will congratulate his family and all of us and Arkady Babchenko on his birthday".

Babchenko is a former soldier, writer and a journalist.

Babchenko left Russian Federation after he criticized the Kremlin in a Facebook post in 2017.

The weird sequence of events is unlikely to help ties between Ukraine and Russian Federation.

The war correspondent appeared at a press conference in Kiev less than 24 hours after the authorities there said that he had been gunned down in the stairwell of his apartment building in an apparent contract-style killing. Many of those deaths are linked to the Kremlin.

In 2016, investigative journalist Pavel Sheremet was killed when a bomb exploded his vehicle.

Another vehicle bomb killed Ukrainian military intelligence officer Col Maxim Shapoval in June 2017 in what the Ukrainian authorities called a terrorist act. None of the other murders, which Kiev has also blamed on Russian Federation, have been solved.

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