The head of the Ukrainian Security Service, Vasily Gritsak, told reporters at a news conference Wednesday that Kiev faked Babchenko's murder in an effort to catch those trying to kill him.
Speaking at the press conference, Babchenko said the operation had been prepared over a two-month period and that he was told about it a month ago.
The journalist thanked the Ukrainian Security Service and apologized to friends and family over the "hell" they went through following his reported death.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova called Babchenko's status "the best news," lamenting that things do not always turn out this way. Zakharova added that the stunt involving the journalist has had an obvious "propaganda function" for Kiev.
Video SBU says shows arrest earlier today of Ukrainian man who organized attempt to kill Babchenko for Russia authorities pic.twitter.com/CcX1xCPvWw— Ian Bateson (@ianbateson) 30 мая 2018 г.
On Tuesday night, Ukrainian authorities reported that Babchenko had been shot multiple times in the back outside his apartment and that his wife found him bleeding to death. Kiev immediately accused Moscow of being involved in the journalist's "murder," charges which Russian officials called "the height of cynicism."
Babchenko moved to Kiev from Russia in 2017 after complaining about receiving death threats over his insensitive comments involving the crash of a Russian military jet carrying the renowned Aleksandrov Ensemble to Syria.