Ukraine presidential candidates attacked in Kiev
Oleg Tsarev was attacked after being trapped inside the ICTV media building following his appearance on the ‘Svoboda Slova’ chat show, according to the statement released by Tsarev’s office.
“It was with great difficulty that government’s security forces were able to recapture Oleg Tsarev from the angry mob. He was severely beaten and is in serious condition,” the press office said.
The video embedded below shows the scene of the alleged mob attack, although Tsarev himself is not visible through the crowd.
Earlier, there were reports of the entire building being surrounded by unidentified gunmen with Tsarev trapped inside and his car attacked, including slashed tires.
Following the attack, Tsarev said that he would not withdraw his candidacy from the presidential election under any circumstances, his press office stated.
“Peaceful dialogue between the authorities and all of the people in the country, the search for compromise and understanding are the only ways to solve the political crisis,” Interfax quoted the politician as saying in the lobby of the General Prosecutor's Office Tuesday night.
However, despite claims by Tsarev’s press service that the presidential candidate was “in critical condition,” Tsarev appeared in front of cameras. In the video, spread via Youtube, he was able to give an interview.
The Ukrainian Prosecutor General’s office has opened a criminal case into the violent attack on the presidential candidate, the office reported.
According to the office’s statement, the case has been launched over charges of hooliganism.
United Nation’s Secretary General Ban Ki-moon condemned the attacks on the presidential candidates, the organization’s spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said, as cited by RIA Novosti.
Konstantin Dolgov, the Russian Foreign Ministry’s commissioner for human rights, noted earlier a “shy silence” from Western countries towards the attack on Tsarev.
“The Maidan tank democracy is in full swing, the extremists remained unpunished,” Dolgov tweeted. “Typical double standards.”
According to Dolgov, Kiev coup-appointed government used ‘tank’ force against people of south-eastern Ukrainian cities whose rights should be protected by this vey government.
“Is it an inclusive political dialogue and a constitutional reform?” he asked on Twitter.
Around the same time, unidentified individuals blocked and damaged the vehicle carrying another presidential candidate, Mikhail Dobkin, while attacking and injuring his aides on their way to that same talk show.
Dobkin admitted to the attack during a live phone interview later on the show. Other media reported that the radicals poured green antiseptic solution and flour on Dobkin.
The two candidates were scheduled to join a third presidential candidate, Yulia Tymoshenko, on the talk show.
Both Dobkin and Tsarev submitted their candidacies for the presidential election as self-nominees. Ukraine’s presidential elections are scheduled to be held on May 25, with twenty three registered candidates taking part in the campaign.
Dobkin is a businessman-turned-politician and the former governor of the eastern Kharkov region. During his presidential bid he vowed to focus on reviving diplomatic relations with Russia, if elected.
Tsarev is also from the eastern part of Ukraine and was a Dnepropetrovsk businessman and People's Deputy of Ukraine elected for the Party of Regions. He was later expelled from the party on April 7.
This is not the first time Tsarev was attacked in recent days. There were reports of him being caught up in the clashes in Odessa on Friday, as well as, beaten and pelted with eggs in Nikolaev by members of the Right Sector, according to RIA Novosti.