Facebook Kateryna Gaidziuk
Violence against Ukrainian social activists continues to highlight in a stark manner the depth of systemic corruption within Ukraine and the lack of justice and protection provided to its citizens.
Local municipal council official Kateryna Gandziuk was hospitalized in a serious condition after an acid attack on July 31, in the city of Kherson 450 kilometers south of Kyiv. According to the police, the assault happened at 8.30 a.m. local time as the woman was exiting the entrance hall of her apartment block. “An unidentified male aged 20-25 walked out towards her from bushes holding a container with liquid,” police said, commented on the case. “The unknown man splashed the liquid, allegedly an acidic substance, into the woman’s face and vanished after that. The injured person was hospitalized.” Gandziuk had sustained severe chemical burns to some 30 percent of her body, notably her head, face, arms, and chest, reported the Kyiv Post.
Her crime seems to be vocal attacks in the media against police and an ongoing dispute with the country’s Service of Transport Security agency.
In another incident, Vitaliy Oleshko, a social activist and retired combat veteran of the Donbas war, was shot and killed on July 31 in the coastal city of Berdyansk in the Zaporizhya Oblast some 600 kilometers southeast of Kyiv. According to local police, the murder took place at 12.30 local time, when an unidentified person shot the 43-year-old Oleshko in the backyard of his house and then fled the crime scene, writes the Kyiv Post. Oleshko was murdered cruelly in front of his wife, shot twice with a rifle.
According to military affairs blogger Semen Kabakaev, Oleshko had numerous conflicts with Oleksandr Ponomarev, a local businessman and lawmaker from the 18-seat People’s Will parliamentary faction. Just hours before his death on July 31, Oleshko delivered a live broadcast on Facebook, criticizing the city authorities for failing to ensure proper trash collection, Kabakaev said.
In recent months, a prominent female attorney was murdered by being ‘violently stabbed in the throat multiple times’. Her body was found floating in a local river near Kyiv. She was instrumental in preventing the killer of her sister being released from prison, the son of a local powerful business figure.