The story has become sadly familiar. A Russian journalist produces reporting that shines a bright light on Vladimir Putin’s depredations suddenly dies, usually by stepping in front of random bullets. A few of them get beaten to death in totally unconnected cases that have nothing at all to do with lèse majeste.

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. His wife reportedly found him in their Kiev apartment shot in the back, and was pronounced dead. And Babchenko stayed dead until he walked into a press conference earlier today:

Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko, who had been reported shot and killed in the Ukrainian capital Tuesday, has shown up at a news conference very much alive.

Vasily Gritsak, head of the Ukrainian Security Service, told a news conference on Wednesday the agency faked Babchenko’s death to catch those who were trying to kill him.

Kiev and national police had said Babchenko, a strong critic of the Kremlin, was shot multiple times in the back at his apartment building and found bleeding by his wife.

Just how tight was security on this operation? Not even Babchenko’s wife was read into it, apparently:

“According to information received by the Ukrainian security service, the killing of Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko was ordered by the Russian security services themselves,” Mr Hrytsak said.

Mr Babchenko was reportedly found by his wife bleeding at the entrance to his block of flats, shot several times in the back, and died in an ambulance.

The journalist apparently did not tell his wife that the murder had been staged. “Special apologies to my wife,” he said. It was not clear exactly how the fake murder was staged.

Ukraine’s security services said they wanted both to prevent Babchenko’s murder and to get proof of Putin’s gangsterism in Ukraine. They succeeded in saving Babchenko — at least for now — but it’s not clear whether they have what they need on the second goal.

Babchenko’s satisfied with one out of two:

The head of the security service said it had received information about a Russian plot to kill Kremlin critic Arkady Babchenko and managed to prevent it.

Babchenko thanked the Ukrainian security service for saving his life.

However, Ukraine says they have made one arrest, although so far details on it are a little sketchy. As they will be, undoubtedly, while Ukraine attempts to roll up the assassin network in Ukraine that tried to take out Babchenko. After this, one can expect a number of further attempts on Babchenko’s life, as well as on the Ukrainian officials that pulled off this operation.

Here’s the video of the big reveal, at the 8:45 mark. Babchenko’s colleagues in the media certainly appreciated it.