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

Video Westgate Mall Attack Survivors Confront Painful Memories

On anniversary of terror attack, survivors discuss how they have coped with trauma they experienced that day More

Iraqi Kurdish Leader: Protect Syrian City

Islamic State fighters are besieging Kobani, also known as Ayn al-Arab, after seizing at least 21 surrounding villages in a major assault against city on Syria's northern border with Turkey More

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

Conservationists hail ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015 More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calaisi
X
Lisa Bryant
September 19, 2014 5:04 PM
The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video CERN Accelerator Back in Business

The long upgrade of the Large Hadron Collider is over. The scientific instrument responsible for the discovery of the Higgs boson -- the so-called "God particle" -- is being brought up to speed in time for this month's 60th anniversary of the European Organization for Nuclear Research, known by its French acronym CERN. Physicists hope the accelerator will help them uncover more secrets about the origins of the universe. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid