'Murdered' journalist Arkady Babchenko appears alive at press conference

Mr Babchenko was reported to have been shot dead on Wednesday

'Murdered' journalist Arkady Babchenko appears alive at press conference

File photo of journalist Arkady Babchenko, 09-08-2013. Image: AP Photo/Alexander Baroshin

A Russian journalist who Ukrainian police had claimed was shot dead at his Kiev apartment has appeared alive at a news conference.

Arkady Babchenko - best known as a war correspondent - had been a major critic of the Kremlin in recent years.

He was reported to have been shot dead on Wednesday.

At a press conference this afternoon however, Vasily Gritsak, head of the Ukrainian Security Service, told reporters the agency had faked Mr Babchenko's death in an attempt to foil a Russian assassination attempt.

The ruse saw Ukrainian police announcing that the 41-year-old was shot multiple times in the back at his apartment building while on his way to buy bread.

They had claimed he was found bleeding by his wife.

Kremlin critic

Mr Babchenko is a prominent critic of the Kremlin and left his home country last year.

He claimed that he had received thousands of threats that he and his family would be harmed.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was this afternoon forced to deny that the Russian State had any involvement in his 'murder.'

Fake death

At the press conference this afternoon, Mr Babchenko said his death had been faked as part of a Ukrainian operation.

He thanked everyone who had been mourning his death.

He said a person had been captured as a result of the two-month long operation and is  now in Ukrainian custody.

He issued a special apology to his wife - adding "I am sorry, but there were no options here."

Plot

Ukrainian police had released an image of a man wanted in connection with the killing and a Ukrainian citizen has now been arrested.

Mr Gritsak said his service had received information about a Russian plan to assassinate Mr Babchenko, and had managed to prevent it.

He added that a Ukrainian citizen had been recruited and paid $40,000 (£30,130). That citizen was also apparently asked to buy weapons and ammunition.

A Kremlin spokesperson said that the Russian State is happy that Mr Bachenko is alive after all.

The Kremlin has also accused Ukraine of using Mr Babchenko to serve its own propoganda purposes.

Additional reporting IRN ...