Bolshoi dancer Dmitrichenko 'did not mean acid attack'

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Media captionFootage from the Moscow court shows dancer Pavel Dmitrichenko speaking of his "shock" over the attack

A Bolshoi Ballet dancer accused over an attack on artistic director Sergei Filin has told a court he did not mean for him to be splashed with acid.

Soloist Pavel Dmitrichenko is accused of masterminding the attack. He appeared in court with two other men accused of helping carry it out.

Police say the three have confessed. They were denied bail at the hearing.

Mr Filin's eyesight was badly damaged when a masked attacker threw sulphuric acid in his face in January in Moscow.

After a series of operations on his eyes, the 42-year-old has been moved to Germany, where doctors have expressed hope that further treatment may be able to restore good vision.

The attack opened a window into bitter infighting and rivalries inside the Bolshoi theatre, correspondents say.

Mr Dmitrichenko, 29, was detained on Tuesday.

On Thursday he appeared in court with Yuri Zarutsky, who is suspected of carrying out the assault, and Andrei Lipatov, accused of driving a getaway vehicle.

Mr Dmitrichenko said he had told Mr Zarutsky about corrupt practices at the Bolshoi Ballet.

He added: "When he said: 'OK, let me beat him up, hit him over the head', I agreed. But that is all that I admit to doing. It's not true that I ordered him to throw acid at Filin."

Police have said they believed Mr Dmitrichenko had paid his alleged accomplices 50,000 roubles (£1,090; $1,600) for the attack.

The court ruled that the three would remain in custody pending a trial. They were later formally charged with grievous bodily harm.

Mr Dmitrichenko has been with the Bolshoi Ballet since 2002. He is a leading soloist, one level down from the very senior male dancers known as premiers.

He has been performing the lead role in Sergei Prokofiev's Ivan The Terrible.

The attack spurred a round of vicious recriminations among some of the leading lights of the theatre.

Suspicions were cast on dancer Nikolai Tsiskaridze, who was accused by Bolshoi manager Anatoly Iksanov of inspiring the attack, if not being behind it.

Mr Tsiskaridze was questioned, but denied any involvement and has not been charged.

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