Ukraine accuses Russian Federation in Kiev assassination of journalist critical of Putin

Babchenko 41 was a vocal critic of Kremlin's policies

Arkady Babchenko, the anti-Kremlin Russian journalist who was reported to have been killed in Kiev, appeared alive at a press conference. Here's how the story unfolded.

Arkadiy Babchenko is the Russian journalist, war-time correspondent and the writer.

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.

Reporting on the high profile case on Wednesday, the head of the SBU, Ukraine's national security service, Sergey Gritsak said Babchenko was alive and unhurt. It was not immediately clear how exactly the murder was staged.

"I want to apologise that all of you had to go through that - I was at funerals of my friends and colleagues, so I know this nauseating feeling, but it was the only way out", he said.

It is not immediately clear whether Babchenko's wife and friend were aware of the security operation.

Mr Hrytsak said the SBU had identified a Ukrainian citizen who had been paid US$40,000 ($52,934) by Russian agents to organise the killing.

"I did my job".

Babchenko used his time in the press conference to apologize to his loved ones for putting them through the pain of grieving for his death.

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Mr Babchenko said he was not allowed to go into the details of the sting operation, but said Ukrainian law enforcement had been aware of a contract on his head for two months.

Babchenko is a former soldier, writer and a journalist.

According to earlier reports, Babchenko's house had run out of bread and he had gone to the shops to buy some before he was gunned down on Tuesday by someone waiting for him in the stairwell at the entrance to his home.

He left Russian Federation for Prague in February 2017 after receiving threats, and moved to Ukraine in August with his family.

His reported murder touched off a war of words between Ukraine and Russian Federation, a flurry of condemnations from European capitals and Washington, and shivers through the journalistic communities in both countries.

"This is the last post of Arkady Babchenko".

Moscow's annexation of Crimea and support for separatist insurgents in eastern Ukraine were topics on which the journalist was scathingly critical of the Kremlin.

The leader added that Ukrainian authorities are becoming stronger in countering what he termed "Russian aggression". "The organiser was talking about killing another 30 people in Ukraine".

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