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

Turbulent Transition Imperils Tunisia’s Arab Spring Gains

Critics say new anti-terrorism laws worsen Tunisia's situation while others put faith in country’s vibrant civil organizations, women’s movement More

Burundi’s Political Crisis May Become Humanitarian One

United Nations aid agencies issue warning as deadly violence sends tens of thousands fleeing More

Yemenis Adjust to Life Under Houthi Rule

Locals want warring parties to strike deal to stop bloodletting before deciding how country is governed More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threati
X
Greg Flakus
May 29, 2015 11:24 PM
Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threat

Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video New York's One World Trade Center Observatory Opens to Public

From New Jersey to Long Island, from Northern suburbs to the Atlantic Ocean, with all of New York City in-between.  That view became available to the public Friday as the One World Trade Center Observatory opened in New York -- atop the replacement for the buildings destroyed in the September 11, 2001, attacks.  VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Purple Door Coffeeshop: Changing Lives One Cup at a Time

For a quarter of his life, Kevin Persons lived on the street. Today, he is working behind the counter of an espresso bar, serving coffee and working to transition off the streets and into a home. Paul Vargas reports for VOA.
Video

Video Modular Robot Getting Closer to Reality

A robot being developed at Carnegie Mellon University has evolved into a multi-legged modular mechanical snake, able to move over rugged surfaces and explore the surroundings. Scientists say such machines could someday help in search and rescue operations. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Shanghai Hosts Big Consumer Electronics Show

Electronic gadgets are a huge success in China, judging by the first Asian Consumer Electronics Show, held this week in Shanghai. Over the course of two days, more than 20,000 visitors watched, tested and played with useful and some less-useful electronic devices exhibited by about 200 manufacturers. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.

VOA Blogs