The beating of Ukrainian opposition journalist Tetyana Chornovil is "disturbing," the U.S. State Department said today after Chornovil was reportedly attacked in her car outside Kiev Christmas night.
Chornovil has suggested that at least two men driving a Porsche Cayenne were paid to attack her, and the beating has stirred anger among protesters in Kiev, who have held photos of Chornovil's swollen, bruised face at demonstrations, Reuters reported earlier today.
Chornovil, 34, was driving home when her car was cornered by an SUV, The Associated Press reported. When she tried to flee, several men attacked her, resulting in a concussion and several fractures in her nose and face, her husband said, according to the AP.
The State Department expressed "grave concern" and called on Ukraine to respect human rights and uphold its commitments to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, a regional security group that held meetings in Kiev earlier this month. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry skipped those meetings after Ukraine turned away from an EU trade pact, visiting Moldova instead, a trip designed to promote the kind of European partnership Chornovil and other activists have reportedly been targeted for demanding.
"The United States expresses its grave concern over an emerging pattern of targeted violence and intimidation towards activists and journalists who participated in or reported on the EuroMaidan protests," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a written statement. "The violent beating of journalist Tatiana Chornovil is particularly disturbing."
"The United States, in concert with our European partners, will continue to closely watch the disposition of this and other cases," Psaki added.
Chornovil was attacked hours after publishing a photo of what she claimed to be the home of Interior Minister Vitaliy Zakharchenko, who has come under criticism by activists after a violent crackdown on protesters, Reuters reported.