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Russian journalist reportedly killed shows up at news conference very much alive

Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko, who Kiev police said Tuesday had been killed, showed up alive at a press conference Wednesday. His death was faked as part of a sting operation by the Ukrainian Security Service.
Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko, who Kiev police said Tuesday had been killed, showed up alive at a press conference Wednesday. His death was faked as part of a sting operation by the Ukrainian Security Service.
Sergei Supinsky/AFP/Getty Images

Updated at 11:08 ET:

The Russian journalist who was said to have been killed yesterday in Kiev, Ukraine, turned up very much alive at a news conference today.

In a wild turn of events streamed live, Arkady Babchenko was introduced to applause and gasps from the reporters in attendance.

YouTube

"I'm still alive," Babchenko said, apologizing to friends and family who believed that he was dead, The Associated Press reports.

"Special apologies to my wife," he said, according to the BBC, though it's not clear what his wife knew.

On Tuesday, Kiev police told reporters that Babchenko had been shot multiple times in the back at his apartment and had died from his injuries. His wife was said to have found him bleeding from his wounds. Police said Babchenko had been targeted for his work.

The head of the Ukrainian Security Service, Vasyl Gritsak, said on Wednesday that his agency faked Babchenko's death in order to set up a sting operation to catch those who were trying to kill him, according to the AP:

"Before ushering Babchenko into the room, Gritsak said investigators had identified a Ukrainian citizen who had been recruited and paid $40,000 by the Russian security service to organize and carry out the killing. The unidentified Ukrainian man in turn hired an acquaintance who had fought in the separatist war in eastern Ukraine as the gunman."

Police say Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko was fatally shot at his apartment in Kiev, Ukraine, on Tuesday. He is seen here in 2013.
Police say Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko was fatally shot at his apartment in Kiev, Ukraine, on Tuesday. He is seen here in 2013.
Alexander Baroshin/AP

Babchenko had moved to Kiev in the fall after fleeing Russia, where he was a prominent war correspondent who in recent years had become fiercely critical of the Kremlin.

Writing last year in The Guardian, Babchenko described how a Facebook post he'd written about the Russian bombing of civilians in Aleppo, Syria, was deemed insufficiently patriotic and led to a systematic campaign against him. In Kiev, he has been a television host on a Crimean Tatar network.

In 2016, investigative journalist Pavel Sheremet was killed when a bomb exploded his car. The case is unsolved.

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