Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko, widely reported to have been assassinated in Kiev on Tuesday, has turned up alive at a press conference.
In an extraordinary development, the high-profile critic of the Kremlin appeared live on Ukrainian TV.
The head of Ukraine’s security services told reporters the “murder” had been staged after Ukraine learned of a Russian plot to kill the journalist.
Vasyl Hrytsak said the hit was “ordered by Russian security services”.
Mr Babchenko thanked the Ukrainian security services for saving his life. It was not immediately clear exactly how the fake murder was staged.
The Russian foreign ministry said in a statement it was happy that Mr Babchenko was alive. Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said the staged murder was done for “propagandistic effect”, Russia’s Interfax news agency reported.
The journalist was reportedly found by his wife bleeding at the entrance to his block of flats, shot several times in the back, and died in an ambulance.
He apparently did not tell his wife that the murder had been staged. “Special apologies to my wife,” he said at the press conference.
Police said that they had made one arrest in connection with the extraordinary operation.
A well-known Kremlin critic, Mr Babchenko stood in unofficial elections organised by the opposition in 2012 and denounced Russia’s actions in Syria and eastern Ukraine.
He fled Russia in 2017 after receiving death threats over a post he made on social media.