MOSCOW —  The head of the Ukrainian Security Service says investigators have identified a Ukrainian citizen who allegedly was paid $40,000 by the Russian security service to organize and carry out the killing of an exiled Russian journalist.

Vasyl Gritsak announced at a news conference Wednesday that the security agency and police had solved Arkady Babchenko’s slaying, which turned out to have been faked.

To the applause and gasps of the press, Babchenko took the floor at the news conference and apologized to the friends and family who mourned for him and were unaware of the plan.

“I’m still alive,” he said.

Babchenko, one of Russia’s best-known war reporters, fled the country in February 2017 after receiving death threats. He spoke and wrote about leaving the country because of the threats against him and his family.. He said his home address was published online and the threats he received were made by phone, email and social media.

Ilya Ponomarev, a former Russian lawmaker who also moved to Ukraine, said Wednesday that Babchenko continued being threatened after he settled last fall in Kiev, where he worked as a host for the Crimean Tatar TV station. Babchenko did not take the intimidation too seriously, according to Ponomarev.

Moscow’s annexation of Crimea and support for separatist insurgents in eastern Ukraine were topics on which the journalist was scathingly critical of the Kremlin.