The state prosecution requested life imprisonment for five former employees of the special forces “Berkut” – Alexander Marinchenko, Sergei Tamtura, Oleg Yanishevsky, Pavel Abroskin and Sergei Zinchenko – in the case of the shooting of protesters on the Maidan in February 2014, report “Play”.
The investigation established that on February 20, 2014, 48 people were killed and 80 wounded on Institutskaya Street. In total, 25 former Berkut employees appear in the case of executions on Maidan, but after the revolution, almost immediately 20 people left for Russia. Yanishevsky, Zinchenko and Abroskin are tried in absentia, they were put on the international wanted list.
The case is being considered in the Svyatoshinsky court of Kyiv. The defendants in the case are charged with abuse of power, terrorist attack, premeditated murder, attempted murder, obstruction of peaceful rallies, theft and concealment of weapons after the crime. Former Berkut fighters do not admit their guilt.
“48 people died. They died. The remaining 80 received gunshot wounds. They somehow managed to survive. We cannot correct what happened, but with your verdict, dear court, you must determine a fair measure of punishment,” said prosecutor Igor Zemskov.
The prosecutor also asks the court to deprive them of their titles and the right to engage in law enforcement activities for three years.
How the murders on Independence Square are being investigated and who is accused:
The five defendants were supposed to be sentenced in 2020, but at the end of 2019 the court released them from custody – the Berkut officers were included in the lists for the exchange of prisoners. However, a few months after the exchange, two of the five Berkut employees returned to Kyiv and stood trial. Sergei Tamtura, like his former colleague Alexander Marinchenko, considers himself innocent, and therefore returned to Kyiv.
The prosecutor’s office admits that in the case file there really are no bullets fired from machine guns of two Berkut soldiers who returned after the exchange. The court recognized them both as accomplices in the execution on the Maidan and released them from custody. The lawyer for the families of the victims, Vitaliy Titich, pointed out that the absence of bullets in the case does not cancel the guilt of the former Berkut fighters. In the cases of the other three participants in the exchange, the evidence base is larger, the lawyer said: bullets fired from their service weapons were removed from the bodies of the murdered activists.
According to the Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine, a total of 2.5 thousand people were injured during the protests in 2014, 104 of them died. Subsequently, the dead protesters began to be called the “Heavenly Hundred”. According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, from February 18 to March 2, 2014, 17 security officials also died while on duty in the center of Kyiv.