The Ministry of Internal Affairs claims that Automaidan activists pursued and attacked Berkut troops. The ministry said that Automaidan activists had attacked Berkut in Kyiv on the night of January 23, and as a result, MIA workers detained around 20 “attackers.”
“Several cars began to pursue three buses with employees of Special Forces called “Berkut” on Kripostny Lane in Kyiv on January 23,” a report on the MIA website reads.
“The offenders blocked the movement of official vehicles and started to brutally vandalize the vehicles, striking them with baseball bats and attacking the militia officers,” said the report. According to Berkut, “the offenders threw stones at the officers, resulting in one Berkut officer suffering from a broken leg.”
“Law enforcement officers disarmed and arrested 18 participants in the attack. Masks, body armor, protective gear, knives, baseball bats, and chains were taken away,” the ministry announced. “Investigators have begun criminal proceedings according to Part 3. 296 (vandalism, committed by a group of individuals and associated with resistance to arrest) of the Criminal Code, which calls for imprisonment for up to 6 years.
The report also shows photos and a video of the helmets, bats, and folding knives taken.
Earlier it was reported that some persons, the so-called “titushky,” and Berkut deceived, harassed and beat Automaidan activists on the night of January 23. Since then at least 15 activists have disappeared, and 6 of them were found in the morning Darnytsya local militia precinct. The search for the rest continues.
Relatives and friends claim that Automaidan activists had been beaten beyond recognition.
Automaidan is a group of independent motorists who are against the violence and lawlessness conducted by the authorities and Berkut in particular, and against the limitation of our legitimate freedoms. They hold motor rallies to protest without breaking the law. When it was known that the government hired and brought to Kyiv a large number of individuals, nicknamed ‘titushkas’ (after one of their number who was arrested) to vandalize in Kyiv with the aim of discrediting the Euromaidan protesters, Automaidan began peacefully patrolling the city.
Yuri Kasianov, Automaidan organser, reports on the events of January 21/22 on his FB page:
“We – Automaidan – have lost many people and many cars. The bandits (Berkut) had set a trap for us, based on our inherent compassion and mutual help. First the berkuters attacked the cars parked on Schorsa Street, where the Automaidaners were keeping watch, so the wounded activists would not be abducted like Verbytskiy and Lutsenko. The cars were smashed, the drivers and passengers were taken by Berkut, beaten, and driven away. After that a Berkut tipper-offer, pretending to be an Automaidaner, reported that he was following berkut buses with abducted people on Rusanivska Street.
Naturally, all available vehicles rushed to his aid and to rescue the trapped people. The tipper-offer confused us for quite some time while the buses with berkut got to Slava square from Shchorsa Street. There were many fake calls for help on the air – near Askold’s Tomb, on Slava Square, on Hrushevskiy Street … “they’re beating us!” – and we rushed there like crazy. We “caught” (in fact, they were there waiting for us, having got out to have a smoke) the Berkut buses on Slava Square, and then drove after them headlong into the trap laid by us before the police cordon outside Hrushevskiy. We tried to stay away from them – we had no intention to fight with such a formidable enemy in his lair; we just wanted to find out where our comrades captured on Hrushevskiy street were. At some point – before turning off Mazepa Street onto Hrushevskiy we lost sight of the buses, and they hid – one on Kriposniy Lane, the other – in a blind alley at the beginning of Mariinsky Park. In search of the buses, having driven into a short stretch of road between these two lanes, a part of the Automaidan cars was trapped – suddenly, a Berkut bus appeared from the front, then the back… Then all is well known to everybody – beaten and abducted people, cars smashed to shards, charges from new articles of the Criminal Code, which add up to 15 years… They say we attacked the Berkut first. Hopefully they will be jinxed.
But the story does not end there. There was another attempt to lure Automaidan into a trap. After half an hour a paddy wagon rode off from the House of Officers, and slowly went by Hrushevskiy in the direction of Paton’s Bridge. It drove very, very slowly, and at this time on the Automaidan’s wavelength new pleas for help sounded – “I’m stalking a paddy wagon, everybody come here!.” However, there were no free Automaidan cars except for two, one of which started tailing it, and the other monitored the situation from a distance, attempting to not reveal itself. At the roundabout before Paton’s bridge the paddy began to be accompanied two white Volkswagen T5 vans with very dark windows and typical CB series license plates… In these vans sat the Berkut… Fortunately, the trap was revealed, and the night did not see a third massacre.
Now a postscriptum. It is obvious that the same criminal figures stand behind the kidnapping of Lutsenko and Verbitsky, beatings and abductions of the Avtomaidan crews; it is the same division – a sort of “death squad,” an elite team of Yanukovych made up of notorious criminals or perhaps military servants of another country. These animals do not respect the law , do not know mercy, do not value human life. They were tasked to destroy Avtomaidan – all at once or one at a time, and they will try to do it every day. Reaching an agreement with these dregs is impossible,
stopping them with our vehicles in unreal. They must be destroyed like mad dogs. And those cops who cover the scum, let them prepare for the fair, but a terrible trial. Bitches.”
The video shows the situation a minute before the beating.
The following day was a quest for the abducted Automaidaner’s family and friends to locate them. After a day of searching and fearing the worst (only the day before, the kidnapped activist Verbytskiy’s dead body was found in some woods in Boryspil District, while the beaten half-to-death Lutsenko was dumped in the woods by a miracle), the missing people were located. Here is the testimony of Olesya Mamchych, wife of Automaidan organiser Oleksandr (Sasha) Kravtsov:
“Sasha said: they kicked us on our legs, arms, heads (no concussion, they rather attempted to knock out my teeth, but with no success). My leg hurts when I walk, I limp a bit now. Small scratches on my face. After that Berkut held a political information lesson for us: took us outside, put us on our elbows and knees into the snow, and held us there for 40 minutes to an hour – and during that time they expressed their vision of Maidan and kept asking us: so anyway how much are you paid?
Our car, sad and smashed, has dissapeared. It’s gone from the site, searches have not led to anything, the lawyer promised to get busy on it tomorrow. Sasha’s wallet with his credit cards, the technical passport, Sasha’s driving license were in the car.”
Sasha is now a detainee in the criminal justice system, he has been redressed into the local formless clothes. He is being accused of hooliganism. The trial is supposed to be either tomorrow, or the day after.
Kangaroo Courts, Ukrainian-Style. Folk Heroes Become Hostages of the Regime