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"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. "There was no choice there, either".

Babchenko said even his wife had believed he was dead.

Dozens of journalists descended upon the central square in Kiev late Wednesday, laughing, hugging and quaffing sparkling wine as they celebrated the "resurrection" of their Russian colleague and Kremlin critic Arkady Babchenko. The Ukrainian government supported his claim and said that they would fully support Mr. Babchenko's quest for justice.

The Russian journalist who staged his own death with the help of Ukraine's Security Services (SBU) described in a televised interview on Thursday how the ruse went down.

Babchenko, clad in a black sweatshirt, walked into the room as other reporters gasped and exclaimed their surprise, then broke into applause. "I'm sorry, but there was no other way of doing it. We watched.at a studio of a TV channel and I realized that I burst into tears and it was tears of joy". Reaction to the news has been mixed. "I was thinking about my survival", he said, not journalistic ethics. "It would be impolite to refuse", Babchenko said. Law enforcement head of policy, and all of them is considered from the point of view of political paradigm.

His second press conference came as a Kiev court granted a request by prosecutors on Thursday to detain a suspect for two months in what Ukrainian authorities say is the plot to murder Babchenko.

"There was no other way", he said.

It also was unclear why authorities chose to go to such lengths to make it look as if Babchenko was dead.

Ukrainian authorities told the media that Babchenko had died in the ambulance, but he said the show continued until "they closed the door of the morgue behind me".

Mr Hrytsak alleged that Russian security forces had recruited a Ukrainian citizen to find hitmen.

Russian response to the incident has been strong, with the Russian Foreign Ministry stating that it is "obviously calculated propaganda" and "anti-Russian provocation...to [further] promote Russophobic lies". "We're confident our foreign partners and the relevant worldwide agencies will draw correct conclusions from the whole situation".

Russia's state-run RT network used the incident to draw parallels with the poisoning of former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter earlier this year in England, which the West blamed on Russian Federation, implying that both incidents were faked.

But there were signs of a backlash against Ukraine.

"To all those journalists who think I've crossed a red line, my friends, the moment you are paid a visit [by security agents]. and then get asked, 'What do you want? It is the duty of the state to provide correct information to the public".

"It is pathetic and regrettable that the Ukrainian police have played with the truth, whatever their motive", the head of Reporters Without Borders, Christophe Deloire, told AFP news agency.

"It is always very unsafe for a government to play with the facts, especially using journalists for their fake stories", he said.

"We knew perfectly well that there would be no killing", he said, adding his work was done "only for the benefit of Ukraine". He said his home address was published online and the threats he received were made by phone, email and social media.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Moscow still considered Ukraine a risky place for journalists to work.

He said his Facebook post, in which he described Russia as an "aggressor", had led to death threats from the Russian state.

News that the supposed murder of a prominent Russian journalist and Kremlin critic was actually staged by Ukraine to thwart a real attempt on his life provoked both relief and anger on Wednesday.