Anti-Putin Russian journalist shot dead in Ukraine capital

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Vasyl Gritsak, head of Ukraine's security service, initially appeared at the conference before inviting Mr Babchenko to join him.

In a shocking twist Wednesday, he turned up alive at a news conference and revealed he was informed a month ago about the plan to fake his death.

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.

However, Ukraine says they have made one arrest, although so far details on it are a little sketchy.

He also thanked the Ukrainian security services for saving his life. "I had to bury my friends and colleagues many times", Babchenko told the journalists present at the televised briefing at the SBU office. "Sorry for imposing this upon you, but there was no other way". "But there was no other way".

The Ukrainian police said they were searching for the man they believed to be responsible for the assassination and even released a sketch of the suspected killer. "The operation was under preparation for two months".

MSNBC foreign correspondent Matt Bradley said the operation was "meant to catch people who were trying to kill" Babchenko.

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A Ukrainian citizen was recruited for the assassination.

A badly bleeding Babchenko was supposedly found by his wife at the entrance to their apartment building on Tuesday. He apologised to her at the press conference. They said the killing may relate to his work.

Russian Federation denied any involvement in any murder plot, and Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova later said Moscow was glad to hear Babchenko was alive, but also criticized Ukraine for staging a "provocation".

European Parliament President Antonio Tajani said he was "relieved to learn that Babchenko' s murder was staged by Ukrainian police and that he is alive". Moscow is unlikely to calm down - so I ordered protection to be given to Arkady and his family. "I've given an order to provide Arkady and his family with protection", he said.

He served in the Russian army during the first separatist war in Chechnya during the 1990s and later became a journalist.

His reported murder had triggered a war of words between Ukraine and Russian Federation and sent shivers through the journalistic communities in both countries. He had faced political harassment after writing a Facebook post critical of Russia's military action in Syria and describing the "indifference" he felt upon learning of a plane crash that killed members of a famous military choir.

The 41-year-old journalist had spoken publicly about the threats against his life and the fear that drove him to leave Russian Federation. Many of those deaths are linked to the Kremlin.