Arkady Babchenko, a Russian journalist and critic of President Vladimir Putin, was pronounced dead from gunshot wounds on Tuesday. One day later, he appeared at a news conference in Kiev.
Ukrainian intelligence officials staged his death as part of a special operation to catch the people trying to kill him, said Vasily Gritsak, head of Ukraine’s Security Service.
Babchenko apologized to his wife. “I’m sorry for making you live through this,” he said. “I’ve buried my own friends and colleagues many times myself.”
Police initially said Babchenko was shot in the back multiple times and was found in a pool of blood by his wife, accusing “the Russian totalitarian machine” of being behind the slaughter.
Babchenko had fled Russia for Ukraine earlier this year, saying he no longer felt safe in the country. He’s known for being critical of many of Putin’s policies, including the annexation of Crimea.
“Ukraine is becoming the most dangerous country for reporters,” Russian lawmaker Yevgeny Revenko said. “The Ukrainian government can’t guarantee basic freedoms.”