'I'm alive': Russian reporter, Ukraine police faked killing

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On Tuesday, Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko, an outspoken critic of Vladimir Putin, was reportedly shot and killed in Kiev.

Editor's note: Since the publication of this article, Arkady Babchenko has appeared at a press conference in Kiev, and said his "murder" was part of a sting operation.

Before ushering Babchenko into the room, Gritsak said the Ukrainian allegedly recruited by Russian agents to kill the reporter had hired an acquaintance to be the gunman.

His wife found him covered in blood and called an ambulance, but Babchenko died of his wounds on the way to the hospital, the newspaper reported.

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Harlem Desir, the media freedom representative at the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, said he was "horrified" by Babchenko's death. "Best friend of Ukraine, who told the truth about Russian aggression to the world".

The Russian Foreign Mministry has reacted to the staged death, saying that they were happy Mr. Babchenko had turned out to be alive after all.

Flowers sit under a picture of the 41-year-old anti-Kremlin reporter Arkady Babchenko on the memorial wall of Moscow's journalists house in Moscow on May 30, 2018.

News of the "death" of the prominent Russian war correspondent and former soldier set off a series of recriminations between Kiev and Moscow, and pictures and flowers had been laid by mourners at the Russian embassy in Kiev.

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Well known for being a critic of the Kremlin, he also stood in unofficial elections organised by the opposition in 2012, and also denounced Russia's actions in Syria and eastern Ukraine. "We demand that the Ukrainian authorities make every effort to promptly investigate", it said on Facebook.

Babchenko had been scathingly critical of the Kremlin in recent years.

He fled Russia in 2017 after provoking a scandal in a Facebook post that expressed indifference over the deaths of a military choir and other passengers aboard a Russian plane that crashed en route to Syria.

Ukraine had released an image of a man wanted in connection with the killing.

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Babchenko had since October 2017 worked in Kiev as a television anchor of the program, "Prime: Babchenko", airing on the Crimean Tatar channel ATR, news reports said.