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

China’s Influence Grows With New Infrastructure Bank

Multibillion-dollar China-backed and BRICS-supported Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank seen as possible challenger to such lenders as IMF, World Bank More

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

Rabbi Michel Serfaty makes the rounds in his friendship bus to encourage dialogue and break down barriers between the two groups More

Post-deal Iran Leaders Need 'Economic Momentum' to Solidify

Economists say deal could inject more than $100 billion into coffers - not enough to entirely rescue ailing economy - but maybe adequate to create 'economic momentum' 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.
US Gay Marriage Ruling Yields Real-life Impacti
X
Michael Bowman
June 28, 2015 10:05 PM
Friday’s landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States is an outcome few thought possible just years ago, and shows a nation that increasingly tolerates and even celebrates the hopes and aspirations of gay people. VOA’s Michael Bowman spoke to a same-sex couple that will benefit from the high court ruling, and to a Christian scholar who is apprehensive about its potential consequences for America’s faith community.
Video

Video US Gay Marriage Ruling Yields Real-life Impact

Friday’s landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States is an outcome few thought possible just years ago, and shows a nation that increasingly tolerates and even celebrates the hopes and aspirations of gay people. VOA’s Michael Bowman spoke to a same-sex couple that will benefit from the high court ruling, and to a Christian scholar who is apprehensive about its potential consequences for America’s faith community.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Syrian Refugees Return to Tal Abyad

Syrian refugees in Turkey confirm they left their hometown of Tal Abyad because of intense fighting and coalition airstrikes, not because Kurdish fighters were engaged in ethnic cleansing, as some Turkish officials charged. VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer, in Tal Abyad, finds that civilians coming back to the town agree, as we hear in this report narrated by Roger Wilkison.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Chemical-Sniffing Technology Fights Australia's Graffiti Vandals

Cities and towns all over the world spend huge amounts of resources battling graffiti writers who deface buildings, public transport vehicles and even monuments. Authorities in Sydney, Australia, hope a new chemical-sniffing technology finally will stop vandals from scribbling on walls in the passenger areas of commuter trains. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Cambodia Struggling to Curb Child Labor

Earlier this year a United Nations report found 10 percent of Cambodian children aged 7-14 are working – one of the highest rates in the region – and said one in four children in that age bracket are forced to quit school to help their families. Although the child labor rate has dropped over the past decade, Cambodia has a lot more to do – including keeping more children in school. Robert Carmichael reports for VOA from Phnom Penh.

VOA Blogs