Ukraine protester's injuries just 'a scratch': minister

1st February 2014, Comments 0 comments

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Leonid Kozhara on Saturday dismissed the injuries sustained by a protester found caked in blood as "a scratch", as the man recovered in hospital in intensive care.

"Physically this man is in a good condition. The only thing he has is a scratch on one of his cheeks," Kozhara told Al-Jazeera television on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference.

"It looks like the alleged story that he was kidnapped and tortured is not absolutely true," he said, adding: "The investigation is going on."

Dmytro Bulatov, 35, said he was kidnapped by unidentified captors with Russian accents on January 22 during clashes in Kiev and released in a forest on January 30 after being tortured.

He said his kidnappers cut off his ear and drove nails through his hands. In television images he was covered in blood and appeared to have been badly beaten.

Bulatov's case has been raised by European and US officials at the Munich Security Conference.

Bulatov's lawyer, Ruslan Radetskiy, told AFP that his client was operated on on Friday.

"He had an operation to sew up the wounds on his body. The operation was carried out yesterday. He is still in intensive care," Radetskiy said.

The interior ministry has accused Bulatov of organising mass unrest and has ordered him to be put under house arrest once he is out of hospital.

The ministry also said it was possible that Bulatov had "staged" his kidnapping and torture "to provoke a negative reaction in society".

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said on Saturday after talks with Kozhara in Munich that Germany was ready to host Bulatov to receive further medical care if he wanted.

© 2014 AFP

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