Kyiv Police Chief Andriy Krishchenko had announced Babchenko's death Tuesday, saying the journalist's wife found him bleeding at their apartment building in Kyiv but that he died en route to the hospital. He in turn had hired a gunman.
Ukrainian authorities had released a drawing of the man they suspect is Babchenko's assassin, around 40-45 years old, with a grey beard and wearing a cap. "I'm sorry for making you live through this. I had to bury my friends and colleagues many times", Babchenko said, also apologizing to his wife and friends, who were unaware of the secret operation.
"I apologize to my wife".
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Many of Babchenko's contemporaries expressed relief that he was still alive.
"I'm glad he is alive, but he undermined even further the credibility of journalists and the media", he added.
In an elaborate scheme, Babchenko, a Russian exile, worked with Security Service of Ukraine in an attempt to see if Kremlin agents were looking to assassinate him - a very real for Russian journalists whose reporting undermines the government that has killed reporters in the past.
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Police claimed the would-be assassin has now been seized as a result of the operation, having been ordered to execute experienced war reporter Babchenko for $70,000.
"The actions apparently designed for a certain propagandistic effect have directly ended up in the entire world to be hoodwinked after it had responded lively to news from Ukraine on a journalist's killing", the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
Britain's foreign minister Boris Johnson said on Wednesday he was appalled by the murder of "another vocal Russian journalist" and it was vital that those responsible were brought to justice.
Its not clear whether Russian Federation was involved in the plot to trick Babchenko's enemies.
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.
Ilya Ponomarev, a former Russian lawmaker who also moved to Ukraine, said Babchenko continued to be threatened after he settled a year ago in Kiev, where he worked as a host for the Crimean Tatar TV station.
He reported on Russia sending private military contractors to Syria and the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH-17 in July 2014 in eastern Ukraine, for which investigators last week held the Russian state responsible.
Russian Federation is ranked 148 out of 180 counties on the World Press Freedom Index 2018, compiled by press freedom campaign group Reporters Without Borders.
Over the last two years, the streets of Kiev have witnessed the murders of two Russians critical of the Kremlin, former lawmaker Denis Voronenkov and investigative journalist Pavel Sheremet. Ukraine is planed 101.
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