Kremlin expects real investigation into Russian journalist’s murder in Kiev

Arkady Babchenko 41 who had been scathingly critical of the Kremlin in recent years stands at a police bus during an opposition rally in Moscow Russia. Police in the capital of Ukraine say a Russian journal

However, it now appears this was a plot by Ukranian security services to capture hitmen hired to kill Babchenko (pictured, right), who now seems to have appeared at a news conference this afternoon to prove he is alive.

Details of the sting operation were not clear, including why authorities made a decision to go to such lengths to make it look as if Babchenko was dead.

It said it had detained a Ukrainian citizen recruited by Russian Federation to find someone to kill Mr Babchenko. According to the SBU, he was going to organize killings of 30 Russian citizens in Ukraine on Russian special services' order, with Babchenko being the first one.

Babchenko said he was not allowed to go into the details of his false death. "I'm sorry you had to go through this but there was no other way", he said.

Arkady Babchenko reported killed in Ukraine appears alive
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".

Ukrainian security officials said two people were apprehended as a result of the sting: a Ukrainian man allegedly paid by Russian Federation to facilitate the foiled assassination, and the thwarted gunman himself.

Gerashchenko said this explained why so few people, not even Babchenko's wife, knew he was still alive.

The faked death came amid heightened tensions between Ukraine and Russian Federation.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Alexander Bortnikov, head of Russia's Federal Security Service, also flatly denied any Russian involvement in the killing. He said he was in constant contact with Ukrainian security services over the course of the past month, adding that he thought they had been planning the operation for up to two months.

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"The important thing is my life has been saved and other, bigger terrorist attacks have been thwarted", he said.

Babchenko, one of Russia's best-known war correspondents, left his country in February 2017, saying he was receiving threats and he was concerned he might be jailed. He wrote in a piece for The Guardian that it forced him to leave "a country I no longer feel safe in".

Writing previous year in The Guardian, Babchenko described how a Facebook post he had written about the Russian bombing of civilians in Aleppo, Syria, was deemed insufficiently patriotic and led to a systematic campaign against him.

Russia's senior-most lawmaker has pledged support for the family of journalist Arkady Babchenko, who was killed in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev on Tuesday night. He said his comments, in which he said he "didn't give a damn" about the incident, had resulted in thousands of threats, his home address being published online and calls for him to be deported. "Second birthday, it turns out", he wrote.

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At the briefing, Gritsak claimed that the Ukrainian Security Service had information confirming that Babchenko's planned murder was ordered "specifically" by the Russian special services.

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