He went on to thank the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) for saving his life and said the most important thing was that what he called other big acts of terror had been thwarted. "I would like to apologize for what you all had to go through ... because I've buried friends and colleagues many times, and I know it's a sickening-vomiting feeling when you have to bury your colleagues", he said.
Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman said in a social media posting late on Tuesday he was convinced what he called "the Russian totalitarian machine" had not forgiven Mr Babchenko for what Mr Groysman called his honesty.
"The operation took two months to prepare", he explained.
Gritsak said killing Babchenko was part of a larger alleged plot by Russian security services.
"Olechka, I am sorry, but there were no other options here".
"Before ushering Babchenko into the room, Gritsak said investigators had identified a Ukrainian citizen who had been recruited and paid $40,000 by the Russian security service to organize and carry out the killing".
The SBU in turn said that its officers had detained a suspect who was engaged in preparations for the contract killing of the journalist. "And this covert action was the result", he told journalists. "It is always very risky for states to play with facts and especially on the backs of journalists".
"I'm glad he is alive, but he undermined even further the credibility of journalists and the media", he added.
Babchenko, 41, one of Russia's best-known war reporters, spoke and wrote about leaving the country because of repeated threats that he and his family would be harmed.
"There's one nuance - if somebody's shot now, nobody will believe it", noted journalist Mustafa Nayyem, who became a parliament member, told The Associated Press.
The leading Belarusian journalist and Kremlin critic, Pavel Sheremet, was killed by a vehicle bomb in Kiev in July 2016.
Mr Babchenko had claimed that while living in Russian Federation his home address was published online, and that threats were made by phone, email and social media.
He criticised Putin's annexation of Crimea and his support for the separatists of southeast Ukraine. A few hours after his stunning appearance, Babchenko triumphantly took to Twitter to say he will live to the age of 96 and dance on the grave of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
"Relieved to learn that Russian journalist Arkadi Babchenko's murder was staged by Ukrainian police and that he is alive and taking part to a press conference to explain reasons that forced him to make this up", he tweeted.