They said the killing may relate to his work.
But on Wednesday, he showed up at the news conference and thanked everyone for mourning his death.
So it seemed like Russian business as usual in the murder of Arkady Babchenko, who reported from Ukraine and offered strongly critical commentary about Putin and his regime. The unidentified Ukrainian man in turn allegedly hired an acquaintance to be the gunman, Gritsak said.
Babchenko is one of Russia's best-known war reporters.
Babchenko told the news conference he had previously fled Russian Federation after receiving death threats.
Ukrainian police originally claimed Babchenko was repeatedly shot in the back and died in an ambulance on Tuesday. "Special apologies to my wife for the hell she's been through these two days". "Olechka, forgive me, but there was no other choice", he said. "Thanks, Ukrainian security services", tweeted Lindsey Hilsum, global editor for Channel 4 in the UK. He said she did not know about the operation in advance.
He said Ukrainian security agents told him a month ago that assassins had been paid $40,000 to kill him.
"The important thing is my life has been saved and other, bigger terrorist attacks have been thwarted", he said.
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Groysman added: "The killers should be punished".
He said Russian security forces had recruited a Ukrainian citizen to find hitmen within Ukraine.
But the trading of words appeared to be in vain.
Ukrainian Prosecutor General Yuri Lutsenko lashed out Wednesday at Ukrainian politicians and civil groups who accused the government following Babchenko's faked assassination of allowing contract killings to happen.
"I think to be alive is good but I'm not sure that Arkady's friends tomorrow will be happy to talk with him or smile at him tomorrow".
Babchenko fled Russian Federation for Prague before settling in Kiev past year following repeated threats against his family.
He wrote in 2017: "I used to be a good soldier". Ukrainian law enforcement agencies are becoming stronger day by day in countering Russian aggression.
The prominent 41-year-old journalist was reported to have been shot dead in the stairwell of his apartment building in Kiev in an apparent assassination. He had fled to the country as he feared for his life in Russian Federation. He also took a stand against Moscow's military campaign in Syria.