Bulatov says he was tortured to admit US involvement in riots in Ukraine
Ukrainian opposition activist Dmytro Bulatov, who is currently undergoing treatment in Lithuania, has said that while he was kidnapped his abductors were trying to force him to confess to spying for the United States.
"They interrogated and beat me every day," Bulatov said at a press conference in Vilnius.
He claims that during these interrogations he was asked about the actions of Automaidan, the mobile, car-based arm of the anti-government protests, and the sources of their funding.
The opposition activist said he was beaten by "professionals."
"They hit me very hard, very painfully, and for a very long time," Bulatov said.
After one session of torture "they made me say into a camera that I was a spy for the United States, that I was a spy for the CIA, that Americans were giving me money, that Automaidan was funded by Americans and that I was specifically hired to organize the Automaidan and the riots against the current government," he said
"After this torture, I said to the camera everything they asked me to say, and they recorded it all on video," Bulatov said.
"I said that the U.S. ambassador gave me $50,000 dollars, which I used to buy gasoline for the Automaidan, to repair cars for the Automaidan activists, for which I had bought several video cameras to film trips. That is, I lied only to get them to torture me less," the activist said.
During the press conference, Bulatov has repeatedly stressed that he believed he was abducted by the Russian special forces. In addition, the activist alleged that leader of the Ukrainian Choice Viktor Medvedchuk might be involved in his abduction.
As of Monday, Bulatov has been receiving treatment in Lithuania.
According to earlier reports, Bulatov went missing on January 23. On the day he went missing, his wife reported him missing with the Darnytsky district police department through her lawyer.
Bulatov made contact on January 30. The activist was badly beaten and he said he had been held by unknown people.
In the meantime, the Ukrainian Interior Ministry reported on January 31 that several Automaidan activists, including Bulatov, were wanted by police in connection with riots in Kyiv.
Interior Minister Vitaliy Zakharchenko said two criminal cases involving Bulatov had been opened, one treats him as a victim of abduction (Article 146 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine), another as a suspect in criminal proceedings on mass riots (Article 294 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine).
Investigators are following several lines of inquiry, including the possible staging of the abduction in order to provoke public outrage.
The Interior Ministry also said that Bulatov was reluctant to cooperate with investigators.