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Ukraine completes investigation into killing of EuroMaidan protesters, indicts Yanukovych for murder

by Elsa Court and The Kyiv Independent news desk October 4, 2023 1:51 PM 2 min read
A general view of the EuroMaidan rally in Kyiv on November 24, 2013. When ousted president Viktor Yanukovych defied the popular will and refused to sign a promised association agreement with the European Union, people rose up in the EuroMaidan Revolution YAROSLAV DEBELYI/AFP via Getty Images
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The investigation into the killing of EuroMaidan protesters in Kyiv in February 2014 has been completed and former President Viktor Yanukovych has been formally charged with a range of crimes including murder, the General Prosecutor's Office announced on Oct. 4.

Other former high-ranking officials have also been charged, including the ex-internal affairs minister and his deputy, the ex-head of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), the ex-defense minister, and the ex-commander of the Berkut riot police division, the State Bureau of Investigations said.

The investigation established that between Nov. 21, 2013 and Feb. 18, 2014, Yanukovych and these high-ranking officials were responsible for the physical violence deployed against demonstrators.

The protests were sparked in November 2013, when Yanukovych refused to sign the long-awaited Association Agreement with the European Union, shortly thereafter receiving a loan from the Kremlin.

The protests would turn into a revolution that lasted until February 2014, ending with Yanukovych and other high-ranking officials fleeing to Russia.

Viktor Yanukovych: Ukraine’s scandal-ridden ex-president
When reports emerged that the Kremlin had been allegedly planning to install former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych in a leadership role in the event they captured Kyiv following the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion in February 2022, Ukrainians were in disbelief. Yanukovych, 73, had been…

On Feb. 18, Yanukovych and heads of the Internal Affairs Ministry, Defense Ministry, and SBU, gave orders to attack protesters "under the guise of an anti-terrorist operation," leading to the killing of the demonstrators on Feb. 20 by the Berkut, the General Prosecutor's Office said.

In total, more than 100 people were killed during the EuroMaidan protests. These victims are commemorated in Ukraine as the "Heavenly Hundred."

As well as intentional murder, the charges include attempted murder, intentional grievous bodily harm, the organization of terrorist acts, and the illegal obstruction of demonstrations and rallies.  

During the investigation, the State Bureau of Investigations found evidence of 1,019 cases of illegally obstructing protesters.

Since the suspects are still located in Russia and Russian-occupied Crimea, the criminal proceedings were therefore conducted in absentia, the General Prosecutor's Office said.

If prosecuted, the crimes carry a maximum punishment of up to life in prison.

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…
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