Russian journalist Babchenko alive, murder stage managed

Aug. 9 2013 Arkady Babchenko 41 who had been scathingly critical of the Kremlin in recent years looks at an opposition picket in Moscow Russia. Police in the capital of Ukraine say a Russian journalist has been shot

BREAKING: 'Murdered' Russian journalist alive; death staged to flush out assassins

The State Security Service (SBU) said Russian Federation had sought to pay US$40,000 (NZ$) to assassinate Arkady Babchenko, who moved to Kiev a year ago following threats in his homeland.

According to Interfax-Ukraine news agency, Mr Babchenko appeared alive during the news conference of Vasyl Hrytsak, the head of the SBU.

"Special apologies to my wife, Olechka; there was no other option", Babchenko said.

Mr Gritsak said investigators had identified a Ukrainian citizen who was recruited and paid $40,000 by Russian security services to organise the journalist's killing.

Reports had earlier said that Babchenko's wife found him covered in blood at their home, and that he had died in an ambulance.

His reported murder had triggered a war of words between Ukraine and Russian Federation and sent shivers through the journalistic communities in both countries.

Says he had to stage his own murder in order to capture someone, apologises to his wife.

In the autumn, Babchenko moved to Kiev, where he worked as a host for the Crimean Tatar TV station, ATR.

Babchenko, who wrote for opposition media, was one of Russia's best-known war correspondents.

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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.

A number of Kremlin critics have been killed in Ukraine in recent years, with one gunned down on a Kiev street in broad daylight and another whose auto exploded.

"I can now reveal details of the SBU special operation, thanks to which we were able not only to thwart a cynical provocation, but also document the Russian special service's preparations for this low crime", Gritsak added.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Vladimir Groisman wrote on Facebook that he was "sure the Russian totalitarian machine had not forgiven" Babchenko "his honesty and principles".

Mr Babchenko fought in the Russian army in Chechnya, and then became a war reporter for several Russian newspapers.

He fled Russian Federation in 2017 after receiving death threats over a post he made on social media. His flight from Russian Federation came several months after he wrote in a Facebook post that he wasn't sorry members of a military band and state television journalists died in a plane crash on their way to Russia's military base in Syria.

Reporters Without Borders, a free press advocacy group, condemned the faking of Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko's death in an attempt to gather information on the Kremlin's alleged attempts on his life, as the nonprofit said "there can be no grounds for faking a journalist's death".

The Kremlin described such allegations as part of an anti-Russian smear campaign.

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