June 1 (UPI) -- A Russian journalist who faked his death with the help of Ukrainian Security Services detailed how he staged his killing, saying the plot entailed creating a shirt with bullet holes and spreading pig's blood on his body.
One day after he was reported dead, spurring Kiev and Moscow into blaming each other, Arkady Babchenko showed up alive at a news conference Wednesday and detailed how he faked his death as part of a special intelligence operation.
But after he turned up alive, Babchenko revealed he was informed a month ago about the plan to fake his death to foil a real plot against his life. Ukrainian officials said their were Russian ties to the threat against Babchenko.
"In the very end, I made the shirt with bullet holes in it and I laid on the floor," Babchenko said in an interview with reporters Thursday.
The journalist, who left Russia last year after criticizing the Moscow government, said real pig blood was poured on him, including in his mouth.
"I washed off as much of the blood as I could," Babchenko said. "They gave me a sheet and I wrapped myself in it and watched the news about what an amazing guy I was."
Babchenko and the Ukrainian government have been criticized for faking the journalist's death, with many saying the security of journalists has been jeopardized.
"I didn't have the task to make you believe me or not," Babchenko said to reporters. "My task was to stay alive. The last thing I was thinking about were the standards of journalism, to be honest."
Journalism advocacy groups Reporters Without Borders and the Committee to Protect Journalists both had harsh words for the plot to fake Babchenko's death
"This extreme action by the Ukrainian authorities has the potential to undermine public trust in journalists and to mute outrage when they are killed," the Committee to Protect Journalists said in a statement.
"What is known is that the Ukrainian government has damaged its own credibility. And given the SBU is an intelligence agency, which engages in deception, obfuscation, and propaganda, determining the truth will be very difficult."
Reporters Without Borders said Babchenko's fake death was "distressing."
"This journalist's reappearance is a great relief but it was distressing and regrettable that the Security Service of Ukraine played with the truth," Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Christophe Deloire said. "Was such a scheme really necessary? There can be no grounds for faking a journalist's death."
Russia also questioned why Ukrainian officials directly accused Russia of involvement in the apparent killing when Babchenko was in fact alive, calling the staged death stunt an effort to incite "anti-Russia hysteria."
On Friday, the Kremlin denied accusations that the ringleader of the assassination plot against Babchenko received an order for the killing from Vyacheslav Pivovarnik, an alleged employee of a private fund of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
"Seriously speaking, there are no such funds in Russia, of course, and any allegations about Russia's possible involvement in this false flag are nothing more than insinuations, and they have nothing to do with reality," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.