The Russian journalist whose death was faked to catch a suspected assassin says he watched reports of his “demise” on TV at a morgue.
Revealing details of the plot, Arkady Babchenko also said pig blood and make-up had been used to make it look as if he had been shot.
Once he had been taken to a morgue in an ambulance, he changed clothes and watched reports of his violent “death” on TV.
The journalist said: “In the very end I made that shirt with bullet holes in it and I laid on the floor. It was real pig’s blood on me. They have poured blood over me, I took some of it in my mouth and let it out. They tucked some blood clots into the bullet holes. And I was dead.”
He shared information about the top-secret operation with his closest relatives only, the 41-year-old said.
His first thoughts were about staying alive and keeping his family safe, he said.
He is now living in a safe house for protection.
Initially, Babchenko said he doubted whether he was a target for assassination, adding that he could have refused to take part in the ruse when Ukranian authorities approached him about a month ago.
He agreed of his own volition, he said.
Babchenko said his sources in Russia had told him last year about possible threats to his life.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has described the plot as “strange to say the least”.
The head of Ukraine’s security service, Vasyl Grytsak, said it was justified because it meant that he and his team were “able to foil a cynical plot and document how the Russian security service was planning for this crime”.
But Russia said the “true motives are beginning to be revealed for this staging, which is totally obviously yet another anti-Russian provocation”.