KIEV (Reuters) - A Ukrainian lawmaker kidnapped in the southern city of Odessa earlier on Thursday has been found unharmed and his attackers have been detained, the local prosecutor’s office said.
Earlier, the head of President Petro Poroshenko’s BPP faction, Ihor Hryniv, told parliament that MP Oleksiy Honcharenko had been kidnapped “in broad daylight” in his native Odessa.
“The criminal group has been neutralised. Honcharenko is in a safe place,” said Inna Verba, a spokeswoman for the Odessa prosecutor’s office.
Thirty-six-year-old Honcharenko used to be in the pro-Russian Party of Regions, but joined Poroshenko’s faction following the ‘Maidan’ uprising in 2014, becoming a vocal opponent of the Russia-backed separatist movement in eastern Ukraine.
Speaking to Reuters by phone, Verba said Honcharenko had been targeted because of his political position, but did not give further details on the alleged motive.
“They wanted to burn his eyes with acid and break his knees so that he suffered. They didn’t plan to kill him,” she said.
Reporting by Natalia Zinets and Pavel Polityuk; Writing by Alessandra Prentice; Editing by Ralph Boulton