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Ukraine faces backlash for jailed Russian activist

Concern has grown over the alleged abduction of Russian opposition activist, Leonid Razvozzhayev, in Ukraine. The United States has called for an investigation into the matter.

Ukraine's main opposition party alleged on Thursday that Russian agents had kidnapped and tortured the rights activist with permission from the government in Kiev.

The party, led by imprisoned former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, said that President Viktor Yanukovych, authorized the kidnapping to gain support from the Kremlin ahead of Sunday's parliamentary elections.

Razvozzhayev, now in a Moscow prison, told Russian rights activists he was abducted by masked men in Kyiv on Friday and smuggled into Russia. He said he was kept handcuffed in a basement with his legs bound for three days, where his captors denied him food, water, sleep or a toilet until he "confessed" to plotting riots.

US voices concern

The United States expressed its worry Thursday over the kidnapping affair, with Moscow embassy spokesman Joseph Kruzich saying, "we have shared our concerns with the Russian government and requested that they investigate this matter."

The statement comes two days after the UN Refugee Agency said it was "deeply concerned" about Razvozzhayev's disappearance.

"We have seen very credible reports over the last several days about Leonid Razvozzhayev, including the statement from the [UN Refugee Agency] and human rights activists who visited him in prison," said the spokesman. "We are deeply concerned by these reports and are following the case closely."

dr/ccp (AFP, AP)