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Babchenko says he was covered in pig's blood for fake death ruse

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Babchenko says he was covered in pig's blood for fake death ruse

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REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko
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Arkady Babchenko, the Russian journalist who faked his own death, said he was smeared in swine blood and was taken to the morgue as part of the elaborate plan.

The reporter went into details about staging his death with the press a day after Ukrainian authorities revealed they had carried out the operation to foil an alleged assassination plot by the Russian intelligence service.

The journalist said that on the night of the event, a make-up artist came to his apartment to make it look like he had been shot, he was given a t-shirt with bullet holes to wear and pig blood was poured over him.

He added that he played dead while the medical teams — who knew about the plan — transported him to the morgue and declared him dead. Once he was inside the morgue, he could move once more.

"Then I watched the news and saw what a great guy I had been," he said, talking about tributes that were paid to him in the media after his death was reported all over the world.

Babchenko hit back at critics, justifying his part by saying that he accepted to cooperate with the plan because he feared for his life.

"Everyone who says this undermines trust in journalists: What would you do in my place if they came to you and said there is a hit out on you?" Babchenko told Reuters.

The reporter said that when he was first approached with information about the alleged plot to kill him, he wanted to run away but then he remembered that Sergei Skripal had tried to run away and they still got him.

British authorities blamed Russia for trying to poison Skripal, a former Russian double agent, in the British city where he lived — an accusation Russia denies.

Babchenko said he committed to the plan willingly, adding that his first thought was about keeping his family safe and staying alive.

The reporter said his sources in Russia had first warned him about death threats back in 2017.

He said he was now living in a place guarded by security and that he plans to take it easy for over the next few days: "I plan to get some decent sleep, maybe get drunk, and then wake up in two or three days."