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

India PM Modi's Party Distances Itself From Religious Conversions

BJP under fire for being slow to rein in hardline affiliate groups allegedly trying to promote Hindu-dominant agenda by luring Muslims and Christians to convert More

Anti-Whaling Group Found in Contempt of Court

Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers in the waters off Antarctica continue their campaign to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt More

UN's Ban Urges End to Discrimination Against Ebola Workers

Ban was speaking in Guinea on the second day of a whistle-stop tour aimed at thanking healthcare workers of the countries at the heart of the epidemic 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 Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid