Ukrainian President Denies Ordering Attack On Journalist

KIEV, Ukraine -- Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych denied accusations Wednesday that he ordered thugs to ambush a journalist and beat her senseless in retaliation for stories that embarrassed his besieged government.

A protester wearing a traditional Ukrainian wreath shouts slogans during a demonstration in Kiev on January 8, 2014. Protesters demanded the resignation of Internal Affairs Minister Vitaliy Zakharchenko, accusing police and security services of organizing attacks on opposition activists, including the beating of journalist Tetyana Chornovil.

“The statements of Tatiana Chornovil about the president of Ukraine’s involvement in her beating are groundless,” a statement from the president's office said. 

Yanukovych’s office promised to prosecute those involved in the Dec. 25 attack. 

“The president instructed Interior Minister Vitaliy Zakharchenko on Dec. 25 to immediately take all necessary steps to investigate the beating of journalist Tatiana Chornovil.”

Asked earlier this week about who was responsible for her injuries, the 34-year-old activist and writer blamed Yanukovych.

Chornovil was driving home late on Dec. 25 when her car was rammed by a speeding SUV.

Her dashboard camera captured assailants beating her and leaving her bloodied on the roadside.

She suffered a concussion, broken nose and facial injuries.

“I felt my nose sinking in,” she told a TV interviewer.

“I felt it being destroyed under the blows.”

Her camera recorded a license plate that led police to make five arrests.

The suspects are being held as the investigation continues.

The BBC reported that Chornovil had posted a blog entry on Dec. 24 entitled “A Hangman Lives Here” alongside photos of Zakharchenko’s lavish residence.

She also wrote about a sprawling estate reportedly belonging to Yanukovych that includes a golf course and a replica Spanish Galleon.

The attack on Chornovil reinvigorated weeks-long anti-government protests in the Ukrainian capital that had floundered following Ukraine's economic deal with Russia.

“There is no charismatic leader, no counterweight to Yanukovych,” political analyst Vadym Karasev told Agence France-Presse on Dec. 23.

The protests began when Yanukovych snubbed a political agreement with the European Union, instead choosing to deepen economic ties to Russia.

Source: GlobalPost