Police in Kiev said Babchenko's wife found him outside their apartment.
Mr Babchenko apologised to his wife, who he said was not briefed on the scheme in advance, "for the hell she had to go through in the past two days".
General prosecutor Yuriy Lutsenko, who appeared alongside Babchenko at the news conference, said it was necessary to fake the journalist's death so that the organisers of the plot to kill him would believe they had succeeded.
Ukraine's chief of security services, Vasyl Gritsak, said Ukrainian police had detained one suspect involved in the real plot against Babchenko, a former rebel fighter in eastern Ukraine - in other words, one allied with Russian Federation in the fighting there.
Babchenko praised the operation, however, and thanked the Ukrainian Security Service, the SBU, for saving his life.
Babchenko had since October 2017 worked in Kiev as a television anchor of the program, "Prime: Babchenko", airing on the Crimean Tatar channel ATR, news reports said. I am sorry, but there were no options here.
Babchenko, 41, fled his native Russia for Ukraine past year after receiving death threats for criticizing Russian military involvement in Syria.
Ilya Ponomarev, a former Russian lawmaker who also moved to Ukraine, said Mr Babchenko continued to be threatened after he settled a year ago in Kiev, where he worked as a host for the Crimean Tatar TV station.
In April 2015, Oles Buzina, another prominent journalist who was critical of Ukraine's authorities, was shot dead in Kiev.
Mr Hrytsak said the SBU had identified a Ukrainian citizen who had been paid US$40,000 ($52,934) by Russian agents to organise the killing.
Another journalist, Sergiy Grishyn, said "Babchenko will have to give me money for pills" for the stress he'd suffered.
Babchenko served in the Russian Army during the first separatist war in Chechnya in the 1990s before he became a journalist.
Russia's foreign ministry expressed relief at Babchenko being alive.
Babchenko, one of Russia's best-known war reporters, sported a freshly shaved head and a hoodie with the word "Journey" emblazoned across the front as he faced his colleagues Wednesday.
Harlem Desir, the media freedom representative at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, said he was "horrified" by Babchenko's death.
Russia's Investigative Committee said in an online statement late on Tuesday that it had launched a murder investigation into Babchenko's death. Russia's high commissioner for human rights, Tatiana Moskalkova, promised to address Ukrainian authorities, urging them to pay special attention to the investigation of the journalist's murder. Prominent journalist Pavel Sheremet was killed in Kiev on July 20, 2016, when an explosive device detonated under the auto he was driving.