Ukraine: Reporter's fake murder involved pig's blood, morgue

Ukraine: Reporter's fake murder involved pig's blood, morgue

He apologized to his wife Olechka - who on Tuesday was reported to have found him bleeding to death at his apartment - for the "hell" she had gone through.

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. It was not clear if she had been involved in the plot or not.

"We created and published staged photographs of the supposedly murdered Arkady Babchenko and distributed a composite sketch of the supposed killer", Gerashchenko wrote. Instead, flanked by Ukranian security officials, wearing a hoodie and occasionally flashing a sheepish smile, Babchenko launched into an explanation of the ploy.

Babchenko, under fire from some quarters over the deception, hit back in a news conference in Kiev on Thursday, saying that he went along with the ruse organized by Ukrainian security officials because he feared for his life.

They managed to delay the Russian attempt on Babchenko until after the Champions League soccer final, which Kiev hosted last weekend, the authorities said. "I had no choice but to cooperate".

He quipped that nobody had shown him a letter from President Vladimir Putin ordering his murder, but that despite initial scepticism he now believed assertions from the Ukrainian security service that he had been targeted in a Russian plot.

Babchenko, 41, detailed how he was taken to a morgue in an ambulance - where he changed clothes and watched reports of his supposed violent death on TV.

Gritsak accused Russia's special services of engineering the attempted murder and said that the mastermind of the crime had been detained on Wednesday.

"Babchenko is a journalist, not a policeman. and part of our job is trust", he wrote on Twitter.

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The freaky sequence of events is unlikely to help ties between Ukraine and Russian Federation. The scribe had ended up in such conditions as he faced heavy criticism for stating that he did not mourn the deaths of a Russian military plane crash whose victims were predominantly pro-Kremlin journalists.

Before ushering Mr Babchenko into the room, Mr Gritsak said investigators had identified a Ukrainian citizen who had been recruited and paid 40,000 dollars (£30,000) by Russian security services to organise and carry out the killing. Babchenko said, according to Moscow Times.

Grytsak, during his press conference, thanked Babchenko and his family, who he said were in the loop about the secret operation. "If you want to be of use, give me a British passport and protection", he wrote on Facebook. In a video showing him greeting Babchenko, he said: "I am absolutely convinced there was no other way".

Speaking to CNN, journalist and colleague of Babchenko, Simon Ostrovsky, described Wednesday's revelation as "totally shocking and unprecedented".

"We finally learned to defend", Poroshenko said.

That drew criticism from some media defenders and commentators who questioned whether the ruse and the false outpouring of grief and finger-pointing at Russian Federation it generated had undermined credibility in journalism itself and in Kiev, handing the Kremlin a propaganda gift in the process. Babchenko, who had fled Russia after being threatened by Russian lawmakers, had been murdered in cold blood after returning home after buying a loaf of bread.

LUCIAN KIM, BYLINE: The news broke late Tuesday evening in Kiev.

Babchenko also responded to critics who have said that the ruse may ruin the credibility of journalists and the West, raising a number of ethical questions.

The authorities in Ukraine have been sharply criticised for faking the murder of a Russian dissident journalist in Kiev.

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