Ukraine protest leaders assaulted outside Kiev police station
Maxim Tucker is a freelance journalist based in Kiev, Ukraine. He previously worked as Amnesty International's Campaigner on Ukraine and the South Caucasus, and has spent the last five years working on and in the former Soviet Union.
Sunday 05 January 2014
A parliamentarian who organised Ukraine's pro-EU protests, in which thousands demanded the removal of President Viktor Yanukovych, was assaulted on Friday night in the latest in a series of violent attacks on the demonstrations' organisers.
Andriy Illienko, a Svoboda Party MP, and party activist and lawyer Sydir Kizin were leaving a police station in central Kiev when they were set upon by a gang of youths. Around a dozen men reportedly kicked and punched the two men but fled when the attack was interrupted by two passers-by, who Svoboda said had rescued their members from "probable death".
An ambulance crew at the scene told The Independent on Sunday that the MP had suffered a fractured jaw and concussion.
Shortly before the attack, Mr Illienko had been speaking to officers at Shevchenko District police station about an incident in which the Svoboda Party accused police of conspiring with nationalist marchers who threw flaming torches at a Kiev hotel on New Year's Day.
In a statement responding to the assault on Mr Illienko, the party said: "The Svoboda Party considers this attack as a particularly cynical attempt on the life of a statesman. This attack was planned in advance, with thugs and police acting as a coalition."
A recent string of attacks has targeted the opposition and pro-EU activists who have led five weeks of protests against the government's rejection of a free trade and political integration agreement with the EU in favour of closer ties with Russia.
On Christmas Eve, a pro-EU activist, Dmitry Pylypets, was stabbed outside his apartment in Kharkiv, eastern Ukraine.Opposition journalist Tetyana Chornovol was beaten unconscious after assailants drove her car off the road on Christmas Day.
In the past month, police have raided an opposition headquarters and three critical news outlets, seizing hard drives and computer servers. Authorities have twice used force to try to clear protesters from Kiev's Independence Square.
Police announced yesterday that they had opened an investigation into the latest attack but had no suspects.
- 1 Apple has installed security backdoors on 600m iPhones and iPads, claims security researcher
- 2 UK pirates will get four warning letters a year
- 4 Is Gideon Levy the most hated man in Israel or just the most heroic?
- 5 Israel-Gaza conflict: Deadly flechette shells 'used by Israeli military in Gaza Strip’
Hacking Trial: Rebekah Brooks, Raisa and a new twist in the saga of a horse fit for a Prime Minister
Israel-Gaza conflict: Palestinian death toll now exceeds 500 – but Israel fights on
Income tax league: Revealed - the UK towns where people pay the most and least tax
Israel-Gaza conflict: Deadly flechette shells 'used by Israeli military in Gaza Strip’
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Blogger captures footage ‘showing BUK missile launcher that shot down jet’ now back in Russia
Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crash: 'Nine Britons, 23 Americans and 80 children' feared dead after Boeing passenger jet is 'shot down' near Ukraine-Russia border
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Vladimir Putin is given 'one last chance' to end hostilities in Ukraine
The 'scroungers’ fight back: The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: victims’ bodies bundled in black bags and loaded onto trains
Competitive: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: Scheme Manager (BREEAM)...
Flexible, depending on experience: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: T...
£850 - £950 per day: Orgtel: Programme Director - Conduct Risk - Banking - £85...
£100 - £110 per day: Orgtel: Project Coordinator/Order Entry Hampshire