A Ukrainian anti-government protester who had been missing for eight days resurfaced on Friday, appearing on a local television program to tell viewers that he had been beaten and left hanging by his wrists to die in the cold.
"They crucified me. They punctured my hands... they cut off my ear, slashed my face. There's not a single alive spot on my body. But I am alive, thank God," reported the visibly harmed Dmytro Bulatov. Bulatov said he could not identify his captors, but that they spoke with Russian accents. One of Bulatov's friends reported that "we know that they [his abductors] did not feed him. We know that they abandoned him in a wood and we know he managed then to get to a village."
Bulatov was a key organizer of demonstrations before he disappeared on January 23, leading the "Automaidan" protest motorcades in which up to 2,000 cars drove to government officials' homes and delivered supplies to protesters.
Police officials are investigating what happened. Bulatov is still recovering in a hospital, where guards have been placed to protect him and former heavyweight champion turned opposition leader Vitaly Klitschko paid him a visit, saying, "What was done to Dmytro was an act to frighten all citizens who are being active now."
Ukrainian President Viktor F. Yanukovych, who protesters rebelled against when he opted out of an EU trade deal in order to accept a $15 billion bailout from Russia, is still on sick leave. The president has offered a number of concessions, including the repeal of a controversial anti-protest law and the conditional offer of amnesty for some demonstrators, but protesters are sticking to their demand that he step down. Shortly after starting his medical leave yesterday, Yanukovych issued a statement blaming the opposition for continuing to protest despite his efforts for reconciliation — suggesting that protesters should not expect any further compromises.