MOSCOW, July 27 (RIA Novosti) – A self-styled “sextremist” group said Saturday that three of its activists and a photographer were assaulted and kidnapped in the Ukrainian capital, but police said the four were detained for hooliganism and disobeying police orders.
Femen said in a statement that activists Oksana Shashko, Alexander Shevchenko and Yana Zhdanova, as well as photographer Dmitry Kostyukov were “severely” beaten up and forced into a car.
It claimed the abduction was organized by Russian and Ukrainian security services to prevent the group’s topless protest against what it called “the bandits’ Sabbath” – the celebration of the 1025th anniversary of baptism of Kyivan Rus, a medieval state that comprised parts of what is now Russia and Ukraine.
Heads of state and Orthodox leaders, including Russian President Vladimir Putin and Moscow Patriarch Kirill, arrived in Kyiv to participate in the celebrations.
A source in the Kyiv police headquarters told RIA Novosti that a police patrol saw "three naked women" and a man taking their pictures. It said that the four were detained for "petty hooliganism" and disobeying police orders.
Femen also claimed that late Thursday its “ideologue” Viktor Svyatsky was assaulted near the group’s headquarters by unidentified thugs and was later hospitalized with a broken jaw.
Femen was set up in Ukraine in 2008, initially to protest on women’s rights issues. The group has since made headlines with topless protests around the world on a variety of other political issues.
updates with info from Kyiv police