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

    California Republicans Mull Choices in Presidential Race

    Ted Cruz tells state's Republican Convention delegates campaign will be 'battle on the ground, district by district by district,' ahead of June 7 primary

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, many Kurds are trying to escape turmoil by focusing on success of football team Amedspor

    South African Company Designs Unique Solar Cooker

    Two-man team of solar power technologists introduces Sol4, hot plate that heats up so fast it’s like cooking with gas or electricity

    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.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora