30/05/2018 19:39 BST | Updated 31/05/2018 21:29 BST

Arkady Babchenko: The Stunned Reactions To 'Murdered' Russian Journalist Declaring: 'I'm Still Alive'

Shock ... and sympathy for his wife.

It was a moment that prompted millions to stop in their tracks.

Arkady Babchenko, the Russian journalist and Kremlin critic who on Monday was declared dead by police in Kiev, turned up alive and well in Ukraine’s capital.

Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, Vasily Gritsak, head of the Ukrainian Security Service, said the death had been staged in order to catch those who were trying to kill him.

Gritsak said the authorities had received information about a Russian plot to kill Babchenko and had managed to prevent it by faking the journalist’s death.

His wife, who reportedly found his body in a pool of blood in their flat, was unaware of the operation and thought he had been killed.

Then came the jokes ...

And the memes ...

Meanwhile on Facebook, where ‘fake news’ has been known to flourish, confusion reigned. 

And some pointed to the surreal consequences of the plot.

Babchenko’s colleagues at Ukraine’s ATR channel reacted with relief. 

But once the shock dissipated, some journalists questioned how healthy the sting operation was.