'Assassinated' journalist Babchenko alive, Kiev says, accusing Russian Federation of murder plot

Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko was fatally shot at his apartment in Kiev Ukrainian police said Tuesday

The widely reported murder of a well-known Russian war reporter and Kremlin critic in Kiev was faked, the Ukrainian Security Service announced on Wednesday, as part of an attempt to foil an assassination plot against him. Ukrainian National Security Agency head Vasyl Hrytsak said the suspects planned to kill another 30 people in Ukraine.

A statement from the Ukrainian embassy in London said "the perpetrator of a crime" had been arrested and that Ukraine will "bring organisers to justice".

However, it has now emerged that the Ukrainian security services faked Mr Babchenko's death.

"I'm still alive", he said. It is anti-Russian bluster instead of talking about the need to conduct a thorough, objective investigation,"Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters before it was revealed that Mr Babchenko was alive and well".

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".

"Olechka, I am sorry, but there were no other options here". He apologized to his wife for putting her through a "nightmare", but said there was no other alternative to playing dead.

Babchenko was shot and killed Tuesday evening in Kiev where he had been living since fleeing Russian Federation.

"I have buried many friends and colleagues many times and I know the sickening feeling", he said.

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Babchenko, 41, is one of Russia's best known war reporters.

"Before ushering Babchenko into the room, Gritsak said investigators had identified a Ukrainian citizen who had been recruited and paid $40,000 by the Russian security service to organize and carry out the killing".

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

He wrote in a post in 2016 that he had "no sympathy or pity" for the victims of a plane crash carrying Russia's Red Army choir to Syria.

Russian Federation denied the claims that it was behind Babchenko's murder, instead using the opportunity to lambaste the security of journalists in Ukraine.

But on Wednesday he showed up alive at a news conference in Ukraine.

Having been called unpatriotic over a piece a year ago on Russia's intervention in Syria, Babchenko complained of an atmosphere of hate toward his work.

Ukrainian lawmaker Anton Gerashchenko wrote on Facebook that Babchenko was shot in the back on the stairwell of his house and died in the ambulance on the way to hospital.

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