Arkady Babchenko reported killed in Ukraine appears alive

Russian President Vladimir Putin right congratulates popular Russian singer Iosif Kobzon before the gala to mark Kobzon's 80th birthday at the State Kremlin Palace in Moscow Russia Wednesday Sept. 20 2017. (Mikhail Klimentyev Sputnik Kremlin

The Associated Press reports Arkady Babchenko attended the event in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev, where the head of the Ukrainian Security Service, Vasily Gritsak, revealed that the agency faked Babchenko's death in an effort to find the individuals who were trying to kill him.

Babchenko embraced a popular Kiev uprising that ousted a Kremlin-backed regime in 2014 and went to cover a conflict between Ukranian troops and pro-Russian insurgents in the east of the former Soviet country following the annexation of Crimea.

They said he was found by his wife after she heard shooting and he died in an ambulance on the way to hospital.

The State Security Service, or SBU, said Russian Federation had sought to pay $40,000 to assassinate Arkady Babchenko, who moved to Kiev previous year following threats in his homeland.

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.

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Aleksandr Bortnikov, the head of Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB), said Ukrainian allegations that the FSB was behind the killing of Babchenko were nonsense and a provocation, the Interfax news agency reported on May 30. He accused Ukraine and its "Western handlers" of seeking to use it to stir up anti-Russian feeling, saying it followed a familiar pattern of using such assassinations to frame Russia.

"This fashion of conducting worldwide affairs is very sad", Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was quoted as saying at a Moscow press conference on May 30.

Anton Gerashchenko, a Ukrainian lawmaker, wrote on Facebook that Babchenko had gone to a shop to buy some bread, but someone waiting for him near the entrance of his home shot him in the back several times.

He had served in the Russian army during the two wars in Chechnya in 1990s and became one of Russia's best-known war reporters.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov responded by denouncing the Ukrainian accusations, calling the killing a "tragedy". In one, he said he felt no regret about the deaths of Russian army choir members and others from a December 2016 plane crash as they were heading to perform before Russian troops in Syria.

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The murder will further strain ties between Ukraine and Russian Federation, post-Soviet allies who fell out following the ouster of Ukraine's pro-Kremlin leader in 2014.

"I'm still alive", he said.

Ukrainian police circulated the Babchenko killer's suspect sketch showing 40-45 years old man with grey beard.

Babchenko had been scathingly critical of the Kremlin in recent years.

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