KIEV, Dec. 30 – An activist at Road Control, a website exposing traffic police corruption, has fled Ukraine after receiving threats that he may be arrested or even assassinated.
Rostyslav Shaposhnikov, the head of Road Control, fled to Poland and said that he may ask for political asylum if the Ukrainian authorities request his deportation.
Road Control and its members have been actively involved in coordinating anti-government protests in Ukraine that demand resignation of Prime Minister Mykola Azarov and other officials.
Two activists, Andriy Dzyndzia and Viktor Smaliy, were arrested earlier this month, while Volodymyr Maralov survived an assassination attempt when two assailants had shot him in the chest last week.
“They arrested Dzyndzia, Smaliy, they told me I will be the next,” Shaposhnikov told Unian news agency. “If they don’t jail me, they will kill me. In any case, I cannot come back to Ukraine.”
The developments underscore the fact that the authorities have been resorting to crackdowns on the most active members of the anti-government rallies, trying to stifle the protest.
Tetiana Chornovol, a journalist and a protest activist, was brutally beaten by two assailants in early hours of December 25 on a highway outside Kiev . A dashboard camera caught the attack on video helping to identify those who may have been involved.
Mykola Berezoviy, the husband of Chornovol, said the assailants tried to kill her by punching her in a temple. “They were hitting to kill,” he said.
Tetiana, with brain concussion, broken nose and numerous bruises on a swollen face, had several surgeries and on Monday was discharged from the intensive care unit, Berezoviy said. She remains in the hospital and her condition is still serious.
“She is asleep for most of the time,” Berezoviy said at a briefing on Monday. “But she says she won’t get intimidated.”
The Ukrainian authorities faced more than a month of mass demonstrations across the country since President Viktor Yanukovych had decided to ditch a deal that would have taken Ukraine closer to the European Union.
Instead, Yanukovych tried to force a deal with Russia , which had agreed to lend his government $15 billion no-strings-attached loan and to reduce natural gas prices.
Thousands of protesters on Sunday have staged a rally for the first time in front of Yanukovych’s heavily guarded lavish private compound, potentially taking the protest to a new level.
About 5,000 protesters riding in about 1,000 cars got to the compound, known as Mezhihiria, which is 15 km outside Kiev , and promised to take one million protesters soon. (tl/ez)