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Femen leader assaulted during Putin's visit to Ukraine

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

The leader of feminist movement Femen known for their bare-breasted protests was attacked ahead of Russian President Vladimir Putin's arrival in Ukraine on Saturday, the group said, blaming the country's special services.

Anna Hutsol was entering her apartment building after walking her dog early Saturday when an unidentified man socked her in the face, grabbed her dog and ran away.

"An unknown man jumped at me from upstairs, hit me in the face, grabbed my dog and fled," Hutsol told AFP, saying she had noticed being followed the day before.

"I ran after him but only saw that he had gotten into a car and left with my dog."

"I do not care who he is -- a member of the SBU (Ukrainian Security Service) or a hired bandit," she said, claiming that the attack was an act of intimidation during politically sensitive celebrations in Ukraine this weekend.

On Saturday, Putin, Serbian leader Tomislav Nikolic and Moldovan President Nicolae Timofti joined their Ukrainian host Viktor Yanukovych for festivities to celebrate the 1025th anniversary of Christianity in Ukraine and Russia.

Despite the attack, Hutsol said the group would still try to stage a protest against Putin's two-day visit to Ukraine. "All this intimidation and violence will not stop us," she said.

Hutsol was assaulted after a leading male activist with the group, Viktor Svyatskiy, was brutally beaten up late Wednesday.

The group blamed the attack on the Ukrainian and Russian special services.

Svyatskiy was hospitalised with severe bruising to his face, a suspected broken jaw, broken teeth and loss of blood.

Femen's female activists have become well-known in Ukraine and abroad for baring their breasts to protest discrimination against women and other rights violations.

The group has said Putin and the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill who has accompanied him to Ukraine, are its "longstanding enemies" and described Saturday's celebrations as "the holy gathering of post-Soviet dictators".

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130727/femen-leader-assaulted-during-putins-visit-ukraine