News / Europe

Attack on Reporter Restores Passion to Ukraine Demonstrations

A protester holds pictures of journalist Tetyana Chornovil, who was beaten after publishing an article on the assets of top government officials Dec. 26 2013 (Reuters)
A protester holds pictures of journalist Tetyana Chornovil, who was beaten after publishing an article on the assets of top government officials Dec. 26 2013 (Reuters)
Reuters
Protesters demanded Ukraine's interior minister resign on Thursday after an opposition journalist known for documenting the extravagance of the country's political elite was chased down in her car and savagely beaten in a midnight attack.
 
Clutching pictures of Tetyana Chornovil's badly bruised face, hundreds marched on the Interior Ministry in the capital, Kyiv.
 
The attack on the 34-year-old restored passion to protests that have been losing steam more than a month after the government spurned a pact on closer ties with the European Union, turning instead to former Soviet master Moscow.
 
Pro-EU demonstrators have been occupying central Kyiv,m but their numbers have been falling since Russia offered Ukraine a $15 billion bailout this month.
 
The United States said the journalist's beating was “particularly disturbing” and that Washington was concerned and watching the situation.
 
“The United States expresses its grave concern over an emerging pattern of targeted violence and intimidation towards activists and journalists” who participated in or reported on the protests, said a statement issued by State Department spokeswoman, Jen Psaki on Thursday evening.
 
Psaki called on Ukraine's government to ensure respect for human rights and to send an “unequivocal message” that violence against government critics “will not be tolerated.”
 
“The United States, in concert with our European partners, will continue to closely watch the disposition of this and other cases,” she said in the statement.
 
Ukraine's interior minister, Vitaly Zakharchenko, had already become a target of opposition anger following a violent crackdown on protesters by police late last month that helped swell the demonstrations.
 
The attack on Chornovil, shortly after midnight on Wednesday, came hours after she posted pictures online of what she said was Zakharchenko's home, part of a campaign to expose the opulence of the political elite under President Viktor Yanukovich.
 
“Our police no longer protect their people, but fight them instead, hurt and oppress them,” said protester Valentina Gorilova, a 47-year-old housewife.
 
Some protesters, their hands chained, kneeled before a row of police in mock supplication.
 
With Ukraine winding down for the Orthodox Christian holiday season, the opposition movement has shown signs of waning. A hard core of hundreds continue to camp out around braziers on Kyiv's Independence Square, swelled by weekly mass rallies of around 100,000 or more.
 
Billions in Russian aid
 
Chornovil, who has played an active role in the protests, shot to prominence last year when she infiltrated the grounds of Yanukovich's opulent residence in a park near the Dnieper River.
 
She has since posted photographs online of the homes of other senior officials. Zakharchenko was her target on Tuesday. “Here lives the executioner,” the journalist wrote in her blog, above pictures of a handsome country property.
 
Hours later, Chornovil was chased on a road outside the capital, a dashboard camera capturing how a black Porsche Cayenne veered and rammed into her car before at least two men jumped out.
 
“When a very, very posh car is ramming you first on the side, then from behind, then from the front you understand that they've been paid already for your life,” a beaten and bloodied Chornovil told local television station Channel 5, laying on a hospital bed.
 
Her lips were swollen and split, one eye blackened and closed by bruising.
 
“I am a Revolution activist ... and I am very well known as a journalist, I've made a number of journalistic investigations which ... are irritating them [government officials],” she said.
 
The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the United States embassy in Kyiv condemned the attack.
 
The embassy noted “a strikingly similar series of events over the last few weeks, targeting individuals, property, and political activity, apparently aimed at intimidating or punishing those linked to the ... protests.”
 
“We condemn the attack and call for an immediate investigation, which unlike previous such incidents must result in those responsible being held fully accountable under the law,” it said in a statement.
 
Media reports said another opposition activist was stabbed in the eastern city of Kharkiv on Tuesday.
 
Yanukovich on Wednesday called on police to find those responsible for the attack on Chornovil. Two men were detained later on the same day and police said they had detained a third suspect on Thursday.
 
The president's pivot away from Europe last month has thrown the country of 46 million people into turmoil, exposing a deep rift among Ukrainians over whether their future lies with the EU or Russia.
 
Rejecting the EU trade deal, Yanukovich turned instead to Russia for an aid package worth $15 billion to help ease a worsening financial crisis. It received a first $3 billion tranche this week.
 
On Thursday, ratings agency Standard and Poor's revised the outlook on Ukraine's long-term sovereign 'B-' rating to stable from negative, saying the bailout would cover the country's financing needs over the next year.

You May Like

Photogallery South Africa Bans Travelers From Ebola-stricken Countries

South Africans returning from affected West African countries will be thoroughly screened, required to fill out medical questionnaire, health minister says More

Multimedia UN Launches ‘Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years’ in Iraq

Move aims to help thousands of Iraqi religious minorities who fled their homes as Kurdish, Iraqi government forces battle Sunni insurgents More

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

IT specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about disease More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbasi
X
Scott Stearns
August 21, 2014 9:20 PM
The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ferguson Calls for Justice as Anger, Violence Grips Community

Violence, anger and frustration continue to grip the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Protests broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on August 9. The case has sparked outrage around the nation and prompted the White House to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to the small community of just over 20,000 people. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas has more from Ferguson.
Video

Video Beheading Of US Journalist Breeds Outrage

U.S. and British authorities have launched an investigation into an Islamic State video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by a militant with a British accent. The extremist group, which posted the video on the Internet Tuesday, said the murder was revenge for U.S. airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq - and has threatened to execute another American journalist it is holding. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Video

Video Family Robots - The Next Big Thing?

Robots that can help us with daily chores like cooking and cleaning are a long way off, but automatons that serve as family companions may be much closer. Researchers in the United States, France, Japan and other countries are racing to build robots that can entertain and perform some simpler tasks for us. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.

AppleAndroid