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Prosecutors: EuroMaidan violence perpetrated by Ukrainian officers under Russia's guidance

by Martin Fornusek February 19, 2024 3:39 PM 2 min read
Berkut riot police shoot rubber bullets toward anti-government protesters on Independence Square on Feb. 19, 2014 in Kyiv, Ukraine. (Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images)
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Murders and violence against the EuroMaidan Revolution's participants were carried out by Ukrainian law enforcement officers under the orders of Ukrainian authorities and Russia's guidance, according to a conclusion by the Prosecutor General's Office, Interfax-Ukraine reported on Feb. 19.

No Russian snipers were involved in the shooting that took the lives of Ukrainian citizens, said Oleksii Donskyi, the head of the Department for Maidan Affairs of the Prosecutor General's Office, during a press briefing in Kyiv.

The revolution began in November 2013 when people gathered at Maidan Nezalezhnosti, Kyiv's central square, to protest pro-Kremlin President Viktor Yanukovych's refusal to sign the long-awaited Association Agreement with the European Union.

Law enforcement officers, namely Berkut riot police, used violence to suppress the protests, including lethal force. More than 100 people were killed during the revolution, which culminated in Yanukovych fleeing to Russia.

"If someone would like to hear that there were Russian snipers, Russian law enforcement officers on the Maidan, then there was no such thing," Donskyi said.

EuroMaidan Revolution
The EuroMaidan Revolution is often credited with being the single most consequential event in Ukraine’s modern history. After pro-Kremlin President Viktor Yanukovych took power in 2010, the political and business landscape in Ukraine was gradually deteriorating. In November 2013, Yanukovych refuse…

"This is a pretty version, not based on real facts. It was Ukrainian law enforcement officers who received instructions from Ukrainian authorities, who killed, and who committed violent crimes."

While the violence itself was committed by Ukrainian officers, "the Russian Federation had a huge influence on these decisions (and) on the entire course of events that took place during" the revolution, Donskyi concluded.

Around 20 officers of Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB), as well as officers of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), carried out joint "information operations," according to the official.

"Twenty FSB officers, including five generals, came to Ukraine several times and, together with SBU officers, prepared relevant informational materials that became the basis for committing certain criminal acts," Donskyi said.

He also said that the initial violence in November 2013 was already the result of Russian hybrid warfare, which was meant to escalate the situation and prevent Yanukovych's administration from shifting toward the pro-EU direction.

In January, Ukraine's State Bureau of Investigation charged two ex-commanders of Berkut riot police with destroying weapons used to shoot protesters during the EuroMaidan Revolution.

Since the revolution took place a decade ago, over 30 people have been charged with committing crimes against protesters, five of whom have received sentences from the court.

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