Ukrainian Berkut police suspected of Euromaidan massacre now in Russia’s service?

A Berkut officer shoots Euromaidan protesters in Kyiv. Photo: Oleksandr Khomenko, Gordonua.com

A Berkut officer shoots Euromaidan protesters in Kyiv. Photo: Oleksandr Khomenko, Gordonua.com 

Analysis & Opinion

On 20 February 2014, 48 participants of Ukraine’s pro-western Euromaidan protests were shot by the Berkut riot police. Shortly after, the protesters won, then-president Yanukovych fled, and a pro-western government came to power. A lengthy investigation into crimes committed against the protesters was launched.

According to its results, 25 members of the Berkut police from the “Black Company” and their deputy commander Oleh Yanyshevskyi carry responsibility for the death of their fellow unarmed citizens.

However, only 5 of those suspected in the killings will go to trial or face responsibility: 21 out of the 26 have escaped to Russia. Out of them, Russia has officially confirmed that 15 have received citizenship, and 3 were granted asylum. On 21 July 2017, Russia declined the request of Ukraine’s Prosecutor General’s office to extradite 21 suspects to Ukraine. It wasn’t the first one – the request sent in January received a similar response, only for a smaller number of Berkut officers.

Meanwhile, five police officers are under trial and will be brought to justice, according to the Advocacy Advisory Panel, a coalition of lawyers working to secure justice for the victims of the Euromaidan protests and their families. Yevheniya Zakrevska, a lawyer of the Advocacy Advisory Panel, expects that they will be a verdict in 2018. The rest will be tried in absentia, similarly to ousted ex-President Yanukovych.

Out of the 21 Berkut officers who escaped from Ukraine, 15 have received Russian citizenship and 3 have received asylum. Infographics of Advocacy Advisory Panel

Out of the 21 Berkut officers who escaped from Ukraine, 15 have received Russian citizenship and 3 have received asylum. Infographics of Advocacy Advisory Panel

 

What is the Black Company

Ukrainian journalists gave the “Black Company” of Berkut its name for the black uniform with yellow stripes which its fighters were wearing on the numerous video recordings of 20 February 2014. This is a special company of the special police regiment “Berkut,” subordinate to the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Kyiv. It was a SWAT team within a SWAT team.

In an interview to Open Russia, Yevheniya Zakrevska told that the “Black Company” was considered to be the most well-prepared and well-equipped Berkut unit. Only fighters of this company had a black uniform besides the camouflaged one. The commander of the unit was Dmitry Sadovnik.

Sadovnik was a remarkable figure: he commanded the special unit while being de facto disabled: he has no right hand. Because of this, he held his machine gun with the forearm of his right arm while holding it with his left hand, and pulled the trigger with the same left hand. Thanks to this firing peculiarity, Sadovnik was identified on one of the video recordings made in February 2014 on Euromaidan, Open Russia writes.

Дмитрий Садовник на учениях и Дмитрий Садовник стреляет на Майдане (сверху вниз). Источник: e-news.su, кадр из видео

Dmitry Sadovnik at trainings (top) and Dmitry Sadovnik shooting at Kyiv’s Maidan (bottom). Source: e-news.su, snapshot from video, h/t Open Russia

After the fall of Yanukovych’s regime, Sadovnik was taken into custody as one of the main suspects of the killings at Euromaidan and faced life imprisonment. But then the court changed his measure of restraint to house arrest (a result of the poor state of the Ukrainian judicial system, which is still awaiting its reform). A few weeks later, in early October 2014, he fled to Russia. According to data of the Ukrainian prosecutors, he received Russian citizenship on 4 December 2014, two months after escaping his arrest. 16 officers from his company managed to escape even earlier, in April 2014, apparently not without help, thanks to the poor work of the police and conflicts between different factions of the investigation.

Watch out for the ex-Berkut in Russia

Photo: Maria Karpukhina / Dozhd

Sergey Kusyuk is now dispersing protests in Moscow. Photo: Maria Karpukhina / Dozhd

Yevheniya Zakrevska warns Russians to watch out for the 18 Berkut officers suspected of murder who are now living in Russia.

“They could be working in the police. They could be ‘protecting law and order’ like their regiment commander Kusyuk… They can have weapons and shoot… They can do many things,” she wrote on Facebook.

Sergey Kusyuk, the Berkut chief infamous for his brutal dispersals of protests in Ukraine, including the brutal dispersal of students on 30 November 2013 which sparked the whole Euromaidan revolution, was spotted dispersing protesters in Moscow in June 2017, together with another ex-Berkut officer named Vasyl. Kusyuk was the direct superior of Dmitry Sadovnik, the commander of the “Black Company.” In Ukraine, he had the rank of a colonel; he was apparently accepted into this rank in Russia.

In Ukraine, Kusyuk is wanted for directing the dispersal of the student protest on 29-30 November 2013 together with his two deputies and four Berkut commanders. As well, he is suspected of organizing the Euromaidan massacre of 20 February 2014, during which 47 protesters were shot.

Four other Berkut fighters from another unit who were also accused of killing and severely injuring Euromaidan protesters ran away to Russia in April 2017. Only one had a measure of restraint. But Ukrainian ex-police employees who retained loyalty to the old regime, or feared punishment for committed crimes, started escaping to Russia or occupied Crimea right after Euromaidan.

A massive handout of Russian passports to Berkut officers in Crimea took place during spring 2014, before the Russian annexation, when units of the Crimean and Sevastopol Berkut refused to carry out the order of the new Minister of Interior Arsen Avakov on self-liquidation. The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs authorized the Russian consulate in Simferopol to give them Russian passports on 28 February 2014. After the annexation of the peninsula, they became part of the Russian OMON.

Colonel Petr Fedchuk is another Ukrainian ex-police officer who has found his place among the Russian police who was, like Kusyuk, noticed during a protest dispersal in Moscow. However, in Ukraine, he served not in Berkut but commanded the public security police in Kyiv. Like Kusyuk, he preserved his rank.

Open Russia notes that the Russian authorities regard the Berkut fighters who dispersed popular protest actions with utmost respect and that, most likely, the command to give these people Russian citizenship came from the very top: “the President of the Russian Federation is able to be sentimental in matters relating to the loyalty of executioners.”

However, getting the Berkut to Russia requires more than political will. The practical implementation of this operation, according to the information of the Russian anti-corruption portal Russiangate, was carried out with the help of such organizations as the Foundation for Support of Veterans of the operational services of Russia’s power departments “Center-T.” And Konstantin Zatulin, a Russian MP, and director of the Institute of CIS countries assisted with obtaining Russian citizenship, Russiangate writes.

Probably, even more faithful hounds of the Yanukovych regime are already wearing a Russian police uniform and getting ready for pacifying protests in Moscow, St.Petersburg, or wherever else the Russian population will try to stand up against its repressive regime.

Related:

Source: Open Russia

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  • Ihor Dawydiak

    Those former members of the Berkut who were responsible for the deaths of innocent civilians and who fled to Russia or elsewhere to escape earthly justice will never rest in peace even though they might believe that they are safe. Why? Truth has long arms, true history can never be changed, their crimes will never be forgotten and for at least the time being, someone will be looking for them. Welcome to “Dante’s Inferno”.

    • Dagwood Bumstead

      Israel tracked down those responsible for the murder of its athletes at the 1972 München Olympics and assassinated every one, including Black September’s leader Georges Habash. It took several years but they were all eliminated. Kyiv should do the same with these thugs.

      • Scradje

        Yes, that is the correct business model for dealing with terrorism. It should indeed be applied to agents and directors of pootlerstani terror and its ally isil.

        • Mick Servian

          Russia and its ally ISIS hahaha
          After they liberated Syria?
          Because the US collaborates with them doesnt mean u can successfully project it onto Russia.
          Lol

      • Vlad Pufagtinenko

        I was about to write the same. You are absolutely right

        • Mick Servian

          Another loser with a complex about Putin.
          Sorry you’re a nothing while he’s successful. Lol

          • Vlad Pufagtinenko

            Marko is a paid troll folks… basically a loser who is paid to say outrageous things to cause division, and second, he is Russian, which makes his IQ slightly above a 4th grader.

          • Mick Servian

            I don’t know marko.
            But you are a racist turd.
            Talk about a complex of inferiority

          • Vlad Pufagtinenko

            This Putin paid troll lives to get his tongue right in there, when he is with his master.

          • Mick Servian

            Sorry but not a troll.
            how very convenient for you eh?

          • Vlad Pufagtinenko

            Are you Putin’s head salad tosser this week?

          • Mick Servian

            Nah sorry bro, not Russian and have never met President Putin.
            But you are regularly on a site funded and run by spooks. It’s the only reason i’m on here, I like to observe the propaganda tactics used on here.
            And both you guys posting comments and the authors sound really similar in your racist backwards way.

      • Mick Servian

        That’s what you call for behind a comp?
        More murder?

    • Mick Servian

      All you have to ask yourself is
      “Qui bono”
      Who won the coup?
      Are we truly to believe the people stood up and won against the machinations of mighty Russia?
      Only in movies, buddy.
      Radicals shooting their own people has been documented over and over through out history.
      Sorry but no one buys it.

      • Vlad Pufagtinenko

        “Mighty Russia” …. BAHahahaha
        Russia has one rust bucket air craft carrier that needs to be pulled around by tug boats. This putin backside licker will lie all day folks.

        • Mick Servian

          Thanks buddy.
          So you know nothing about various military doctrine’s? Who needs aircraft carriers? For what type of operation are they needed? It’s a floating forward base for occupations. Otherwise why have them?
          Except they are vulnerable to relatively cheap missiles.
          Russia has huge amounts of high-tech gear. Only retards deny that. So you don’t know what they do then. Because in your eyes, it’s better to possess Mercedeses and BMW’s, which by the way are there because Germany was banned by the empire from making planes.

          • Vlad Pufagtinenko

            Look at this troll folks, trying to impress you with some pretend Russian greatness.
            Russians are good at killing unarmed women and children in Syria and Ukraine.
            Russians would be wiped out in minutes if they ever seriously challenged the US.

          • Mick Servian

            I respect one of the worlds greatest contributors to just about everything. Yes Russia is a Great country, just like China and other similars. Ukraine just has an inferiority complex.
            In Syria, they are there legally, and the families are telling a different view to you. so you are lying.
            Maybe you just listened to the writer using the fake little girls account, presented by western media.
            Caught out as bullshit. Or you support the headchoppers? Probably, even they are better than Russian’s right?
            Most of the Ukrainian refugees have ended up not in Europe, but in Russia.
            You had your coup, now stop killing Russian oriented Ukr…actually, i’m starting to call them Donbassers.
            The US made you believe you could pull the Croatian scenario out of your ass, and it backfired against you.
            Don’t pick on the bigger guy eh?

          • zorbatheturk

            RuSSians are bacteria.

  • zorbatheturk

    Putin’s homies.

  • Tony

    So now Berkut will be killing russians in the future? Good, the beatings will continue until the rus-fools wise up.

    • Mick Servian

      Sure

      • Vlad Pufagtinenko

        Hopefully they beat you first.