Vasyl Gritsak, head of the Ukrainian Security Service, had announced at a news conference that the security agency and the police had solved Babchenko's slaying.
Babchenko, whose arrival at the presser was greeted with gasps from the assembled reporters, was emotional in his remarks, thanking the SBU and apologizing to his wife, who was apparently unaware of the hoax.
Arkady Babchenko, who was scathingly critical of the Kremlin, was gunned down in the Ukrainian capital, Kiev, on Tuesday.
He told reporters Wednesday that his fake death was part of an operation with the security services in Ukraine that took two months to prepare. He left Russian Federation for Prague in February 2017 after receiving threats, and moved to Ukraine in August with his family.
Details of the sting operation were not clear, including why authorities made a decision to go to such lengths to make it look as if Babchenko was dead.
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He did not specify what those planned acts were, but the SBU said it had received information about a plot to kill 30 people in Ukraine, including Babchenko, but had managed to prevent it. The Ukrainian Security Service said he, in turn, paid a potential gunman $30,000 to carry out the hit, the newspaper says.
On Wednesday, he was revealed to the world alive and well at a press conference held by Ukraine's SBU security service.
The journalist quit Russia after pro-Kremlin supporters launched a campaign of intimidation and harassment after he wrote on Facebook he was not sorry when a plane transporting a Russian military choir crashed into the Black Sea en route to Syria in December 2016. "I will try to do this".
In a post to Facebook just hours after news of Babchenko's death emerged, Prime Minister Volodymyr Hroysman said, "I am convinced that the Russian totalitarian machine could not forgive his honesty and principled position".
In recent years, he became a highly vocal critic of the Russian government - a stance that put him at great risk. "That's why his murder is openly provocative".
The Russian internet news site Kommersant, citing a source close to the Ukrainian prosecution, reported that the assassination was "almost certainly a provocation by outside parties".
A top lawmaker says Russia is willing to help Ukraine investigate the murder of a Russian journalist. Prominent journalist Pavel Sheremet was killed in Kiev on July 20, 2016, when an explosive device detonated under the vehicle he was driving.