News / Europe

Kyiv Residents Anxiously Await Report on Maidan Shootings

People carry the coffin of Bogdan Solchunuk, in front of the St. Paul and Peter church, during his funeral, in Lviv, western Ukraine, Feb. 22, 2014.
People carry the coffin of Bogdan Solchunuk, in front of the St. Paul and Peter church, during his funeral, in Lviv, western Ukraine, Feb. 22, 2014.
Ukraine's new leaders say they will release a preliminary report this week on the February 20 sniper shootings of anti-government protesters in Kyiv's Independence Square. Protest leaders worry the investigation is flawed.
 
Boris Aseyev, a 45-year-old web designer, explained how he was shot three times in the central square known as the Maidan.

He said he had camped out for three months along with thousands of others who were trying to oust Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.  On February 20, he was one of hundreds of protesters wounded in the shooting that erupted and lasted most of the day.
 
Two rounds from an AK-47  tore into his leg. The third hit the same leg, he said, but appeared to have been fired by a sniper.

Aseyev was one of the fortunate ones. At least 53 anti-government protesters were killed on February 20, according to Ukraine's Ministry of Health. Many died within minutes from rounds fired by expert marksmen that targeted the head, neck or heart.
 
Propaganda war

The shootings have become a major dispute in a propaganda war between supporters of the ousted Yanukovych, including the Kremlin, the Maidan revolutionaries and Ukraine's interim government.
 
Last week, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov repeated Kremlin allegations that the snipers were either right-wing extremists or foreign mercenaries hired by the Maidan protesters seeking to discredit Yanukovych, who fled Kyiv the next day.
 
Ukraine's new Justice Minister Pavlo Petrenko, formerly an opposition member of parliament, said he has no doubt who gave the orders to shoot protesters.
 
"It was a decision of Yanukovych and his government. It is my opinion and my feeling," he said.
 
According to Petrenko, a probe being overseen by the country's new prosecutor general and new head of Ukraine's intelligence service, the SBU, is making progress.
 
"Our police and general prosecutor make all the scenes and I think that during some few weeks we will have some first answers about these questions," he said. "The first question is who gave them the command to shoot."
 
Skepticism

But many of the Maidan leaders are critical of the investigation. Many suspect the SBU was involved in the shootings. Photographs published over the weekend by The Daily Beast web site show anti-terrorist and Special Forces units arming and preparing themselves on the morning of February 20 at the SBU headquarters just three blocks from the Maidan.
 
Olga Bogomolets, one of the Maidan leaders and a medical doctor who treated the wounded on February 20, says there are problems with the SBU investigating itself. She wants outsiders to oversee the probe.
 
"I just think we have to look for truth and we have to ask for independent organization expert group who will check the information and who will give the Ukrainian people the true answer with no lie," Bogomolets explained, "because we are tired to live with the corruption and without truth."
 
Justice Minister Petrenko, who was with the protesters on February 20, understands the criticism but says he has faith in the probe.
 
"I don't think that it is a problem, because you know that in the Ukrainian parliament, we made (a) special commission," he noted. "The main purpose of this commission is to control police and control the system of prosecutors in the investigation of all these crimes."

More than 100 people died and more than 500 were wounded in the months of protests that led to Yanukovych fleeing the country and an interim government taking office. Most were protesters, but several police officers were also among the casualties.
 
If the investigation into the February 20 deaths doesn't satisfy Maidan protesters, many say they will start demonstrating again -- this time against the country's new leaders.

You May Like

HRW: Egypt's Trial of Morsi ‘Badly Flawed’

Human Rights Watch says former Egypt leader's detention without charge for more than three weeks after his removal from office violated Egyptian law; government rejects criticism More

Photogallery Lancet Report Calls for Major Investment in Surgery

In its report published by The Lancet, panel of experts says people are dying from conditions easily treated in the operating room such as hernia, appendicitis, obstructed labor, and serious fractures More

Music Industry Under Sway of Digital Revolution

Millions of people in every corner of the Earth now can enjoy a vast variety and quantity of music in a way that has never before been possible More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Jonathan huang from: Canada
March 31, 2014 11:58 PM
Oh yeah, riot again, and this time which part of Ukraine you want to give away?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populationsi
X
April 24, 2015 10:13 PM
A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.

VOA Blogs