US 'appalled' at signs Ukrainian opposition leader tortured

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The White House said Friday it was "appalled" at indications a leading Ukrainian opposition protestor, who surfaced after being missing for eight days, had been tortured.

Washington was "deeply concerned" by increasing reports of protestors disappearing and being beaten and of attacks on journalists during Ukraine's deepening political crisis - as well as by suggestions that President Viktor Yanukovych's security forces were involved, said White House spokesman Jay Carney.

"I would note that we were appalled by the obvious signs of torture - torture - inflicted on protest leader Dmytro Bulatov," Carney said.

Bulatov, a 35-year-old opposition activist said his unknown captors cut off an ear and drove nails through his hands before dumping him in a forest.

The US Embassy in Kiev posted a picture of Bulatov with a blackened gash on his cheek and said that "the government of Ukraine must take full responsibility for the timely investigation, capture, and prosecution of those responsible for this heinous crime."