A prominent anti-government activist in the Ukraine was hospitalized Thursday after he claimed to have been kidnapped and beaten — and now, he's on a police wanted list. We should warn you, the following story does contain some disturbing images.
Dimitry Bulatov turned up outside of the Ukrainian capital Kiev late Thursday night, eight days after he went missing, covered in gruesome injuries. He told local reporters he had been abducted, tortured, and abandoned in the woods. (Via Channel 5 (Ukraine))
"I was crucified, I've got holes in my hands. A part of my ear was cut off. They cut my face. There's not a spot on my body that hasn't been beaten." (Via Al Jazeera)
Bulatov is a leading organizer of Automaidan, a convoy of vehicles supporting the country's widespread anti-government protest movement. Pravda notes Bulatov disappeared on the same day riot police detained several other Automaidan activists.
Bulatov's case mirrors that of two other Ukranian protester leaders, Ihor Lutsenko and Yuriy Verbytsky, who were also found beaten and abandoned in the woods. Lutsenko is recovering from his injuries; Verbytsky died from exposure. (Via CNN)
Unlike Lutsenko, Bulatov found himself targeted by the government after his ordeal. The BBC reports, Bulatov appeared on the Ukrainian interior ministry's wanted list shortly after being hospitalized, and early Friday police tried to take Bulatov into custody.
"Staff inside refused to let him leave. Word has got out, his friends have arrived, opposition figures have arrived. And they are say they are not going to allow the police to arrest him."
Anti-government demonstrations have grown increasingly violent in recent weeks. Several people have been killed and dozens injured in clashes between police and protesters. (Via Sky News)
Ukraine's government has made several recent efforts to appease the demonstrators by repealing a harsh anti-protest law, offering cabinet positions to opposition leaders and promising amnesty to protesters who vacate their occupied buildings.
But the opposition has rejected all of the government's overtures, and a peaceful resolution to the standoff is looking increasingly unlikely. The New York Times reports Ukraine's military formally censured the demonstrators Friday, raising the possibility of a military crackdown on protest camps.
The initial protests began after Ukrainian president Viktor Yanucovych rejected a trade deal with the European Union in favor of a Russian bailout agreement. Russian president Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday that aid package may be withheld until the country stabilizes.