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Journalist Flees Ukraine After Threats

Vitali Portnikov
A prominent Ukrainian journalist and RFE/RL contributor has left the country, fearing for his safety.

Vitali Portnikov, who has been the target of a smear campaign, said on January 21 that he was forced to flee after he received information from trustworthy sources in Russia that Ukrainian authorities planned to kill him.

Portnikov, who heads the TVi television channel, wrote on Facebook earlier that three men had attempted to force their way into his apartment on January 20.

Last month, a video containing intimate and illegally obtained images of Portnikov appeared on the Internet.

Some 50 protesters carrying threatening posters picketed his Kyiv apartment earlier this month.

Portnikov is a member of the public committee of Euromaidan, the organizing body of pro-EU demonstrations that emerged after President Viktor Yanukovych rejected an agreement on closer ties with the bloc in November.

With reporting by and