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  • Trans rights activists attacked with pepper spray during Ukraine march

    Kiev demonstration was interrupted by far-right protesters who threw smoke bombs into the crowd

    Two activists have been attacked with pepper spray in Kiev during a transgender rights march that was interrupted by dozens of far-right protesters.

    About 30 people were taking part in the demonstration in the Ukraine capital, holding rainbow flags and banners with slogans including “Transphobia must be stopped” and “If you stay silent, they will come after you too”.

    Journalist @ColborneMichael took punch to face, sustained cut & had glasses broken by far-right radicals while covering today’s transgender rights rally as police not only stood by but physically removed activists from city-sanctioned event. cc @pressfreedom @RSF_EECA @OSCE_RFoM pic.twitter.com/UZyn7aKdee

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  • Serhii Plokhy: 'Chernobyl exposed Soviet secrecy'

    ‘I remember the horror,’ says Baillie Gifford non-fiction prize-winner, who lived through the 1986 nuclear disaster

    Serhii Plokhy, who on Wednesday won the Baillie Gifford non-fiction prize for Chernobyl: History of a Tragedy, always intended to write about the world’s worst nuclear disaster, not least because he lived through it. “I was there at the time,” he says of his days as a young university lecturer living 500km downstream from the explosion at the Ukrainian nuclear plant in 1986 that contaminated vast swaths of Europe, worrying if the waters of the Dnieper River had been contaminated. “I remember the horror.”

    Former classmates were directly affected by the radiation released by the explosion, and he suffered from an inflamed thyroid he believes may have been the result of exposure. Ukraine was still part of the Soviet Union in 1986, and the disaster had such an impact on the country that the 61-year-old Plokhy, now professor of Ukrainian history at Harvard, felt he should tell its story. But he was almost too close to it; the testimonies of survivors were too emotional, too powerful. As a historian, he felt he lacked critical distance.

    Related:Chernobyl nuclear disaster – in pictures

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  • Ukraine activist Kateryna Handzyuk dies from acid attack

    Campaigner’s death sparks protests and EU concern about violence against civil society

    A Ukrainian anti-corruption activist has died from wounds caused by an acid attack, sparking local protests and concern from European officials over growing violence against civil society.

    Kateryna Handzyuk’s investigations into police graft and political corruption in her native Kherson, a Black Sea port, had angered local officials. In late July, a man doused her with a litre of sulphuric acid when she left her house.

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