BBC News on April 3, 2014, reported that Ukraine’s special police were behind the killings of dozens of anti-government protesters in Kiev in February, a government inquiry says. Excerpts below:
Interior Minister Arsen Avakov told reporters 12 members of the Berkut police had been identified as snipers, and three of them had been arrested.
He presented what he said was new evidence from the shootings on 18-20 February, when 76 people were killed.
More than 100 people are now known to have died in Ukraine since the unrest began in November over Mr Yanukovych’s last-minute rejection of a landmark deal with the European Union in favour with closer Russian ties.
Ukraine’s new authorities have since signed the political part of the association agreement with the EU.
At a news conference in Kiev, Mr Avakov presented the initial findings of an initial investigation into the mass shootings that shocked Ukraine and the world.
Most of the demonstrators who died were killed on Instytutska street near the main protest camp on Independence Square, widely known as the Maidan.
Mr Avakov gave details of one particular episode where he said the inquiry had established that eight of those killed were hit by bullets from the same machine-gun.
He identified Maj Dmytro Sadovnyk as commander of a unit suspected of shooting dead at least 17 protesters.
Ukraine’s interim Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk says former President Yanukovych stands accused of mass murder
… he added that the previous authorities had tried to make the inquiry impossible by burning uniforms, dumping weapons and destroying documents.
A number of those responsible for the shootings are believed to have fled to Crimea.
Ukrainian Security Service chief Valentyn Nalyvaychenko said that Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) operatives had been involved in planning operations against the protesters.
He added that the FSB had sent “tonnes” of explosives and weapons by plane to Ukraine.
The Ukrainian authorities also said that the killings of the protesters took place “under the direct leadership” of Mr Yanukovych.
They said arrest warrants had been issued for the ex-president and Oleksandr Yakymenko, Ukraine’s former security service chief.