Photo: Efrem Lukatsky (AP Images)

In what will hopefully be the wildest story of the week, supposedly murdered Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko appeared at a press conference on Wednesday to shock the world with the news that that he is actually extremely alive. What!!!!!!????!??!!!!!????!!!!!!!

Reporters expecting a simple update on the investigation into his killing were instead told that Babchenko had faked his own death as part of a state-sponsored sting operation to catch a group of suspected assassins who’d taken out a contract on his life. Not even his family—including a wife and six children—knew he was still alive, which is pretty fucking cold!!!!!!!!!!

Babchenko, who I stress remains totally un-murdered!!!!, had initially been reported dead on Tuesday after being found by his wife “shot” multiple times in the back outside his Kiev apartment. He supposedly “died” in an ambulance en route to the hospital. Except he didn’t, because he was alive, because he was faking it!!!!!

At the time, local police claimed that Babchenko, a frequent critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, had been targeted for death because of his “professional work and civil position.” (Before it was known that he was not dead, Russia denied that it was involved in any way in his “murder.”) They even released a sketch of the suspected assassin:

Screenshot: Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs (UATV/YouTube)

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THERE WAS NO ASSASSIN THOUGH BECAUSE THE WHOLE THING WAS FAKED!!!!!!

On Wednesday, however, Babchenko—filled to the brim with aliveness—strode into a press conference flanked by Ukrainian authorities, and apologized to his friends and family for what he claimed was a months-long plan conducted in cooperation with local police. What!

“I have been forced to bury my friends and colleagues many times and I know the sickening feeling,” he said, not-murderedly. What!

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“Special apologies to my wife, Olechka, there was no other option,” Babchenko explained, the way someone who is alive does “The operation was under preparation for two months.” What!

“Special apologies” is also definitely the sort of heartfelt phrase that would make anybody not mad.

According to Ukrainian police, at least one suspect is in custody as a result of the sting operation. They claim Russian authorities had already paid $30,000 to an assassin in Eastern Ukraine to conduct the hit. Babchenko had initially moved to Kiev a year ago, after receiving—yup—death threats over his work in Russia.

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In a Facebook post, Ukranian lawmaker Anton Gerashchenko explained that mercilessly tricking Babchenko’s friends, family, and colleagues into thinking he was definitely murdered was totally okay because:

The hero of Arthur Conan Doyle Sherlock Holmes successfully used the method of staging his own death for the effective investigation of complex and intricate crimes. No matter how painful it was for his family and Dr. Watson.

Oh, cool! I guess it’s fine then!

“I’ve done my work. I’m still alive for the moment,” Babchenko himself stressed during his brief remarks at the press conference. He then shuffled out of the room, presumably to be murdered by his grateful wife.

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