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
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Arts and Entertainment
Film director Martin Scorsese
film
Life and Style
life
News
news

The party's potential nominations read like a high school race for student body president

Voices
A mother and her child
voices
Voices
The veterans Mark Hayward, Hugh Thompson and Sean Staines (back) with Grayson Perry (front left) and Evgeny Lebedev
charity appealMaverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Arts and Entertainment
Cold case: Aaron McCusker and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvReview: Sky Atlantic's ambitious new series Fortitude has begun with a feature-length special
Voices
Three people wearing masks depicting Ed Miliband, David Cameron and Nick Clegg
voicesPolitics is in the gutter – but there is an alternative, says Nigel Farage
News
i100
News
people
Sport
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho
footballI have never seen the point of lambasting the fourth official, writes Paul Scholes
Life and Style
Vote green: Benoit Berenger at The Duke of Cambridge in London's Islington
food + drinkBanishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turn over a new leaf
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is a two form entry primary schoo...

Recruitment Genius: Engineering Manager - Alconbury

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for an Engineering M...

Recruitment Genius: .Net / SQL Developer

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A skilled .NET developer with e...

Recruitment Genius: IT Technical Support Engineer - PC/Mac

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT support company are cur...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee