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'Murdered' Russian Journalist Arkady Babchenko Turns Up at Press Conference

01 June 2018

Before Babchenko's appearance, Gritsak said investigators had identified a Ukrainian citizen who allegedly was paid $40,000 by the Russian security service to kill Babchenko.

The Russian journalist who was said to have been killed Tuesday in Kiev, Ukraine, turned up very much alive at a news conference Wednesday. Here's how the story unfolded.

Babchenko, 41, worked as a war correspondent in Moskovsky Komsomolets and several other Moscow-based media.

Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko, listens for a question during a news conference with Vasily Gritsak, head of the Ukrainian Security Service and Ukrainian Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko at the Ukrainian Security Service on Wednesday, May 30, 2018.

"I have buried many friends and colleagues many times and I know the sickening feeling", he said. "I'm sorry for making you live through this", he said.

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The journalist apologized to his wife, who had reportedly called the police when she found him bleeding.

That man in turn approached a former Ukrainian volunteer soldier to carry out the killing, Hrytsak said.

A number of Kremlin critics have been killed in Ukraine in recent years, with one gunned down on a Kiev street in broad daylight and another whose vehicle exploded.

"Separately, I want to apologise to my wife for the hell that she has been through", he said.

He left Russian Federation past year after receiving death threats and being denounced by pro-Kremlin politicians over his criticism of the Syrian and Ukrainian wars.

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Babchenko went on to became a journalist and a high-profile critic of the Kremlin.

Having been called unpatriotic over a piece past year on Russia's intervention in Syria, Babchenko complained of an atmosphere of hate toward his work.

The head of Ukraine's security service Vasyl Grytsak said the set-up had foiled "a cynical plot and (allowed his officers to) document how the Russian security service was planning for this crime". He was told the plot was hatched in Moscow and involved "government security forces", Babchenko told reporters.

"They told me a month ago".

Babchenko fled Russian Federation in 2017, writing on social media he no longer felt safe living there. He's known for being critical of many of Putin's policies, including the annexation of Crimea.

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The plane, carrying 92 people, including dozens of Red Army Choir singers, dancers and orchestra members, crashed into the Black Sea on its way to Syria in December 2016, killing everyone on board.

'Murdered' Russian Journalist Arkady Babchenko Turns Up at Press Conference