During Maidan shootings, Yanukovych phoned Putin 11 times - prosecutor
That’s according to a Ukrainian prosecutor supervising the seven criminal proceedings initiated into the crimes committed in relation to mass protests of 2013-2014, Ukrinform reported from a Kyiv press conference on Wednesday.
Denys Ivanov, the prosecutor in question, says the investigation revealed that on February 20, 2014, on the instructions of the then law enforcement chiefs and former President Viktor Yanukovych, a number of protesters were shot at on Kyiv’s Institutska Street. A total of 48 protesters were killed in the deadly shooting and another 85 were wounded.
"We have established a cause and effect relationship between the instructions issued by law enforcement chiefs and their subordinates," the prosecutor said.
In addition, it was established that during the hot phase of confrontation in the Maidan Square, there were either operational meetings with the heads of law enforcement agencies, ex-president Yanukovych, or phone calls between the ex-officials.
According to Ivanov, between February 18-20, a total of 139 phone calls were made involving Valeriy Mazan, chief of the Kyiv PD, and his Deputy Petro Fedchuk, and 47 between then-Interior Forces Commander Stanislav Shuliak and Valery Mazan, as well as 16 between Shuliak and ex-Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs Viktor Ratushniak, and 17 between Fedchuk and Ratushniak.
In addition, during this period, both Ukrainian law enforcement officials and then-President Yanukovych himself were in contact with Russia’s top leadership of and law enforcement officials via a special governmental line, Ivanov noted.
In particular, Yanukovych had 11 calls with Russian President Vladimir Putin, while Interior Minister Vitaly Zakharchenko had 12 calls with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Kolokoltsev, and SBU chief Volodymyr Yakymenko – three calls with FSB chief Alexander Bortnikov.
The content of those calls remains unclear as the parties used a classified government line in their communications.
According to the inquiry, meetings and frequent calls suggest that Ukrainian ex-officials were aware of a violent crackdown on protesters on the part of their subordinates. Along with other evidence, this also testifies to them having issued verbal instructions to use violence against protesters.
Ivanov said that currently all the suspects in this criminal case remain at large, hiding from justice on the Russian territory, while Moscow has shunned Ukraine’s inquiries to provide any information on the suspects and extradite them.
As Ukrinform reported earlier, the State Bureau of Investigation has completed a pre-trial investigation into former President Viktor Yanukovych and nine high-ranking officials who set up a violent crackdown on protesters in the Kyiv center on February 18-20, 2014.
Over the eight years of the investigation, law enforcement collected more than 1,500 volumes of evidence against the Yanukovych-led criminal group, which included the then minister of defense, head of the Security Service and his first deputy, chief of the Anti-Terrorist Center, interior minister and his deputy, commander of the Internal Troops of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, acting chief of Kyiv PD and his deputy.
Investigators found that the actions by the said organized criminal group led to 76 people being killed and more than 800 injured amid protests in the course of just three days.
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