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Tortured Ukrainian can come to Germany

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Tortured Ukrainian can come to Germany
Bulatov shows his injuries in a video. Photo: DPA
17:13 CET+01:00
A Ukraine protest leader who says he was kidnapped and tortured has been granted a German visa, Berlin said on Monday, as media reported he wants to move to the country.

Anti-government activist Dmytro Bulatov said his abductors drove nails through his hands and cut off part of his ear while they held him for eight days from January 22.

He has undergone medical treatment in Lithuania after he emerged bloodied from captivity, also claiming he was "crucified" by his unidentified assailants.

The 35-year-old father of three now wants to move as quickly as possible to Germany, where his parents live in the western city of Hagen, in North Rhine-Westphalia, said a local newspaper.

The Rheinische Post quoted a letter from Benedict Pöttering, head of the youth wing of the European Conservatives, to Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

Pöttering wrote that Bulatov had told him by phone that he was planning to seek refuge and further medical treatment in Germany.

Steinmeier had pressed his Ukrainian counterpart Leonid Kozhara during a January 31-February 2 security conference in Munich to allow Bulatov to leave Ukraine.

On Monday, a foreign ministry spokesman confirmed that "Mr Bulatov received a Schengen visa from the German embassy so he could leave Ukraine," which he did on February 2.

"I presume he left Ukraine with that Schengen visa, and this visa grants Mr Bulatov the right and option at any time to enter Germany for a certain period," the spokesman added, referring to Europe's visa-free travel area.

He also reiterated that Germany was seeking a peaceful resolution of the conflict in Ukraine, with the aim to avoid "a total escalation, a bloodbath in Kiev, on the Maidan (square), or elsewhere".

Bulatov is a leader of the "Automaidan" movement, which has organised motorcade protests outside President Viktor Yanukovych's sprawling country estate near Kiev.

Images of Bulatov's bloodied face sparked international outrage.

The United Nations and the United States voiced concern, and the EU's foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said she was "appalled by the obvious signs of prolonged torture".

READ MORE: Germany urges Russia for Ukraine dialogue

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