Prominent Russian journalist and Putin critic Arkady Babchenko killed in Kyiv

After living in Tel Aviv, Russian reporter shot dead in Kiev

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) -A Russian journalist who was reportedly gunned down in Ukraine's capital strolled into a news conference that authorities called Wednesday to discuss the investigation of his death, revealing that the slaying had been staged to foil an alleged Kremlin hit plot.

Vasily Gritsak, head of the Ukrainian Security Service, told reporters that the agency faked Mr Babchenko's death to catch those who are trying to kill him.

The assailant behind Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko's murder was a professional killer.

Police in Kiev said Babchenko's wife found him outside their apartment.

"Special apologies to my wife", Babchenko said at the press conference, according to BBC.

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Ukrainian parliamentary deputy Anton Herashchenko, who is also an aide to the interior minister, said Babchenko had just returned home from a nearby grocery store and was opening his apartment door when an assailant waiting in the stairwell shot him multiple times in the back.

After moving to Ukraine from Russian Federation in February 2017, Babchenko continued to receive death threats, but reportedly did not take them seriously, according to someone who knew him.

Babchenko fought with the Russian army in Chechnya in the 1990s and went on to cover conflicts in Georgia's breakaway region of South Ossetia and Ukraine before leaving Moscow after a campaign of harassment previous year.

"The fact that Babchenko is alive is best news". They said the killing may relate to his work.

Prominent Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko. Reports from that day said that he died in the ambulance on the way to the hospital. Ukrainian prosecutors alleged that Voronenkov, who had toed the Kremlin line while serving as a Russian lawmaker but turned into a Kremlin critic after his 2016 move to Ukraine, was killed on orders from a Russian crime lord.

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He had been heavily critical of Moscow's annexation of Crimea, its alleged support of separatist insurgents in eastern Ukraine, and Russia's involvement in Syria's civil war.

On Feb. 27 a year ago, he wrote on Facebook that he had left Russian Federation. He had been shot in the back.

Some of his articles and posts outraged many Russians. "Like many dissidents I am used to abuse, but a recent campaign against me was so personal, so scary, that I was forced to flee".

He has hosted a programme on the Crimean Tatar TV station ATR for the past year.

Mr Babchenko took part in the war in Chechnya as a soldier.

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