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Ukrainians Memorialize Protesters Killed in Kyiv

  • Daniel Schearf

Thousands of Ukrainians gathered in Kyiv's central square Sunday to honor the memory of protesters killed during February clashes with police. Authorities have yet to charge anyone for the deaths, but Ukraine's up-and-coming politicians say they will face justice.

Ukraine’s capital witnessed a solemn occasion on Sunday as Ukrainians marked 40 days since scores of their compatriots were gunned down in central Kyiv.

Their demand for Moscow-leaning president Viktor Yanukovych to step down was met with brutal force, including snipers, before he fled to Russia.

Ukrainians came to honor the more than 100 killed, almost all of them civilians, said Kyiv resident Svitlana.

“We are here today to honor the memory of our heroes who died because it is such a tragedy. Days are passing, but the pain does not pass. And this will remain with us forever,” said she.

But there is also anger at the weak, interim government's failure so far to prosecute anyone for the deaths or scores of others who are still missing.

An older Kyiv resident, who did not give her name, expressed her frustration.

“We have a huge anger. I cannot [even] say how much [I am angry]. We cannot wait until they are caught and punished,” said she.

There must be rule of law, says Kyiv mayoral candidate, and world boxing champion, Vitali Klitschko.

“We are asking this question, why are they not caught, all those who did criminal acts? Why until today this has still not been done? There are great expectations,” said Klitschko.

Punishing those responsible will be a top priority if he is elected, says presidential front-runner Petro Poroshenko.

“They should be punished quickly but impartially and according to justice procedures. I have no doubt that all those who raised a hand against the Ukrainian people, those who shot and killed Ukrainian patriots, all who gave those orders, should face justice,” said Poroshenko.

Moscow's claims that the uprising was a fascist, anti-Russian coup that helped divide public opinion as it separated Crimea from Ukraine.

A priest called on Russians to stop listening to Kremlin propaganda and to come see Kyiv for themselves.

They prayed for peace hoping that those who gave their lives in Ukraine's unfinished revolution did not die in vain.
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