Ukraine activist Dmytro Bulatov 'kidnapped, tortured and left to die'

He led AutoMaidan protest movement that organised motorcades outside the houses of politicians and oligarchs

A prominent Ukrainian opposition activist who vanished eight days ago has claimed he was kidnapped, tortured and left to die in the suburbs of the capital Kiev.

Dmytro Bulatov, leader of the AutoMaidan protest movement which organised motorcades outside the houses of politicians and oligarchs, was found locked in a house in the Kiev suburb of Boryspil, according to local TV station Channel 5. Villagers reportedly heard him pounding on the door.

Wearing blood-stained clothes and exhibiting cuts and bruises to his face, ears and hands, the 35 year-old activist gave a brief interview to media before being admitted to a Kiev clinic for medical treatment.

"My whole body is a mess. You can see everything. I am alive. Thank God for this," he told reporters.

Mr Bulatov disappeared on 22 January when the AutoMaidan motorcade he was travelling with was ambushed. Activists at the anti-government protest said they were beaten by police and hired thugs. He said those who held him had Russian accents, but does not know who they were.

More than five people have died and hundreds have been injured in clashes between authorities and anti-government protesters over the past two weeks. There have been dozens of cases of police brutality, according to Human Rights Watch.

The EU's foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton issued a strong statement today condemning the treatment Mr Bulatov received at the hands of his captors.

"I am appalled by the obvious signs of prolonged torture and cruel treatment of Auto-Maidan organiser Dmytro Bulatov, who was found alive yesterday after having been missing for a week," the statement read.

"Others, like Maidan protester Yuriy Verbytskyy who was found dead on 22 January, have paid with their lives for exercising their civil rights… All such acts are unacceptable and must immediately be stopped," she added.

Ms Ashton also called for "all unlawfully detained people have to be released and perpetrators brought to justice."

Police in Kiev have confirmed Mr Bulatov was bruised and received a cut to one of his ears, according to Ukrainian newspaper Ukrainskaya Pravda. They have opened an investigation and posted guards at the hospital where he is being treated.

Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, above, accepted Mykola Azarov's resignation The army has called on President Viktor Yanukovych to take 'urgent steps' to ease the political crisis (Getty Images) Meanwhile, the army has called on President Viktor Yanukovych to take "urgent steps" to ease the political crisis. Mr Yanukovych's office released a statement on Thursday saying he was off sick with acute respiratory illness, casting doubt over how negotiations to end the standoff with the opposition will proceed.

Demonstrators took to the streets of Kiev in their tens of thousands in November in response to the government's decision to spurn a political and trade deal with the EU in favour of a £9bn bailout and cheaper gas prices from Russia, to keep Ukraine's struggling economy afloat.

The protests have since evolved into an anti-government movement calling for snap elections and Mr Yanukovych's resignation.

Targets of AutoMaidan's motorcade protests are reported to have included one of Mr Yanukovych's residences, and the Donetsk home of Ukraine's richest man, Rinat Akhmetov, when activists called on him to speak up against the bloodshed.

On Saturday, Mr Akhmetov Akhmetov issued a strong statement warning that the use of force against protesters was unacceptable.

"The only way out is to move from street confrontation to negotiations," he said, in a statement released by his holding company System Capital Management (SCM).

Protesters in Kiev demanded that President Yanukovych calls new elections (EPA) Protesters in Kiev demanded that President Yanukovych calls new elections (EPA) Following violent clashes between protesters and police, Ukraine's government this week made several concessions to the opposition. The Prime Minister Mykola Azarov and his cabinet resigned, and parliament voted overwhelmingly to repeal harsh anti-protest laws passed this month to curb the demonstrations. Many have blamed a combination of these laws and cases of police brutality for radicalising the previously peaceful protests.

Despite the concessions, a sprawling opposition camp in Kiev's city centre remains in situ, and protesters continue to occupy some government ministries.

A further move - an amnesty for protesters - was debated in parliament, but rejected by opposition parties after a number of conditions were placed on the bill.

"They have set a number of conditions, and the key condition under the draft bill is to let the Maidan go and only afterwards all protesters will get an amnesty," leader of Ukraine's main opposition bloc Arseniy Yatsenyuk said. "This is unacceptable for us."

Speaking at the opening of the parliament session on Wednesday, former Ukrainian president Leonid Kravchuk warned that: "All the world acknowledges and Ukraine acknowledges that the state is on the brink of civil war."

In an emotional speech that was given a standing ovation, he said: "It is a revolution. It is a dramatic situation in which we must act with the greatest responsibility."

In Brussels on Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said the bailout funds remain on the table, and urged EU officials not to interfere in events in Kiev.

However, some analysts say Russia is likely to use its political, historical and financial sway over the post-Soviet country to urge President Yanukovych to take a tougher approach to solving the political crisis on its doorstep.

The EU has blamed a cocktail of blackmail and bribery from Moscow for President Yanukovych's decision to pull out of the pact in November.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooksA celebration of British elections
Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
Life and Style
A nurse tends to a recovering patient on a general ward at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham
Arts and Entertainment
No Offence
tvReview: No Offence has characters who are larger than life and yet somehow completely true to life at the same time spoiler alert
Chuck Norris pictured in 1996
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Lucas, I SCREAM DADDIO, Installation View, British Pavilion 2015
artWhy Sarah Lucas is the perfect choice to represent British art at the Venice Biennale
A voter placing a ballot paper in the box at a polling station
Arts and Entertainment
The Queen (Kristin Scott Thomas) in The Audience
theatreReview: Stephen Daldry's direction is crisp in perfectly-timed revival
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Dublin

£13676.46 - £16411.61 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment Cons...

Ashdown Group: Marketing or Business Graduate Opportunity - Norwich - £22,000

£18000 - £22000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Business and Marketing Gr...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...

Ashdown Group: Database Analyst - Birmingham - £22,000 plus benefits

£20000 - £22000 per annum + excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Application Sup...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power