How does a Russian journalist fake his own murder in Ukraine? Pig's blood and a make-up artist. That's what Arkady Babchenko said Thursday in an interview from Kiev cited by Reuters. Babchenko, whose wife found him in their apartment building, said he was even taught how to fall as if he had been shot, and that he wore a shirt riddled with bullet holes, CNN reports. He was taken by ambulance (where a doctor pronounced him dead) to a morgue, where he "came back to life," changed clothes, and turned on the news to watch reports of his death. "What a great guy I was," he joked Thursday. The government said he had been shot dead before revealing he was still alive the following day. Babchenko says Ukrainian officials approached him about a month ago with the idea to foil what they say was a Russian security services plot to have him assassinated.
The anti-Kremlin journalist, 41, says the choice was his and he agreed to the plan to fake his own death, CBS News reports. Two people allegedly involved with the Russian plot are reportedly in custody. Babchenko also confirmed his wife did not know about the ruse in advance, and apologized to her "for the hell she had to go through in the past two days. There was no choice there." International media advocacy group Reporters Without Borders decried that plan Thursday: "It is always very dangerous for a government to play with the facts, especially using journalists for their fake stories," the group's director tweeted. But Babchenko Thursday said he was only concerned with the survival of himself and his family, not journalistic ethics. Meanwhile, Russia has slammed the faked death as anti-Russia propaganda.