The Maidan Massacre in Ukraine: Revelations from Trials and Investigation

Published by Ivan Katchanovski, Ph.D.
School of Political Studies &
Conflict Studies and Human Rights Program
University of Ottawa
MAR 8, 2022

Paper presented at the virtual 10th World Congress of the International Council for Central and East European Studies, Concordia University, Montreal, August 3-8, 2021


Updated November 29, 2021

This study examines evidence revealed by the ongoing trial and government investigations concerning the Maidan massacre in Ukraine. The massacre of the protesters and the police during the “Euromaidan” mass protests in February 2014 contributed to the overthrow of the Ukrainian government and ultimately to a start of the civil war in Donbas, Russian military interventions in Crimea and Donbas, the Russian annexation of Crimea and an international conflict between the West and Russia. The research question is as follows: What does evidence made public by the Maidan massacre trials and Ukrainian government investigations reveal about which of the parties of the conflict was involved in this mass killing? This paper analyzes several hundred hours of video recordings of the Maidan massacre trials and information concerning investigations of this massacre in over 2,500 court decisions from the official court decisions database in Ukraine. It examines trial and investigation testimonies of wounded protesters, relatives of the killed protesters, prosecution and defense witnesses, and top officials of the Yanukovych government. The study also analyzes results of forensic ballistic and medical examinations and investigative experiments, and videos and photos of the Maidan massacre made public during the trial. It includes several online video appendixes. They contain testimonies of wounded protesters and witnesses concerning snipers in Maidan-controlled locations and content analyses of synchronized segments of American, Belgian, Belarusian, British, Finish, French, Dutch, German, Polish, Russian, Spanish, and Ukrainian TV videos, recordings of live online broadcasts, and social media videos of this crucial massacre. The Maidan massacre trials and investigations have revealed various evidence that four killed and several dozen wounded policemen and at least the absolute majority of 49 killed and 157 wounded Maidan protesters were massacred on February 20, 2014 by snipers in Maidancontrolled buildings and areas.

Such evidence includes testimonies of the absolute majority of wounded protesters, several dozens of prosecution witnesses, dozens of defense witnesses, and 14 self-admitted members of Maidan snipers groups. Videos presented at the trial showed that times of shooting of the absolute majority of protesters did not coincide with times of shooting by the Berkut policemen, who were charged with their massacre. Forensic medical examinations determined that the overwhelming majority of the protesters were shot from steep directions from the sides or the back. Initial ballistic examinations did not match bullets extracted from the bodies of killed and wounded protesters to the Berkut Kalashnikovs. Forensic examinations of the bullet holes by the government experts for the Maidan massacre trial suggested that Berkut policemen were shooting in the Hotel Ukraina snipers above the Maidan protesters and in trees and poles. The analysis shows cover-up and stonewalling of the investigations and trials by the Maidan governments and the far right. The prosecution denied that there were any snipers in the Maidan-controlled buildings. Not a single person is convicted or under arrest for the massacre of the protesters and the police almost 8 years after one of the most documented mass killings in history.

Conclusion


The Maidan massacre trials and investigations have revealed various evidence that the police and at least the absolute majority of 49 killed and 157 wounded Maidan protesters on February 20, 2014 were massacred by snipers in Maidan-controlled buildings and areas. Such evidence includes testimonies of the absolute majority of wounded protesters, several dozen prosecution and dozens of defense witnesses. The Prosecutor General Office investigation determined that about half of Maidan protesters were wounded from other locations than the Berkut police positions on the ground. Since the investigation and the trial did not reveal any “third force” snipers, this means that the Maidan snipers with the involvement of the elements of the Maidan leadership
perpetrated this massacre. This is consistent with various evidence, such as videos of Maidan snipers in the Maidan-controlled buildings and areas during the massacre and testimonies by 14 self-admitted members of Maidan sniper groups. Videos presented at the trial confirmed that specific times of shooting of specific protesters in the absolute majority of cases did not coincide with times of shooting by the Berkut policemen and directions of their shooting. This visual evidence alone shows beyond any doubt that the Berkut policemen, who are charged with the massacre of the protesters, did not massacre at least the absolute majority of killed and wounded Maidan protesters on February 20. The videos made public during the trial, such as the Belgian VRT TV video, provided evidence that the Maidan protesters were lured and then massacred by snipers from the Maidan-controlled buildings, such as the Hotel Ukraina.


Forensic medical examinations determined that the absolute majority of the protesters were shot from steep directions from the sides and back. This is consistent with locations of the Maidan-controlled buildings and areas and inconsistent with the locations of the Berkut police on the ground. Initial ballistic examinations did not match bullets extracted from the bodies of killed and wounded protesters to the Berkut Kalashnikovs. Forensic examinations of the bullet holes by the government experts for the Maidan massacre trial suggested that Berkut policemen were mostly shooting above the Maidan protesters into the Hotel Ukraina, which was the main location of the snipers. Killing and wounding of a small minority of protesters by the Berkut police, in
particular, by ricochets or in crossfire with snipers in the Maidan-controlled buildings, cannot be excluded because of the lack of publicly available data or because of contradictory data. But their killing and wounding in the same locations and at the same time as other protesters suggest that most of them were also likely shot by the Maidan snipers. The trials and investigations have not revealed any evidence that Yanukovych or his law enforcement ministers and commanders ordered the massacre of the Maidan protesters. There are various indications of stonewalling of the Maidan massacre investigations and the trials by the Maidan governments and far right organizations and the cover-up of much of the key evidence of the massacre. The investigation denied presence of any snipers in the Maidancontrolled buildings in spite of the overwhelming evidence. The Maidan massacre investigation and trial were stonewalled, charges against Berkut policemen and later two Omega members were trumped up, and much of the evidence destroyed in order to cover-up involvement of Maidan leaders and snipers in this mass killing.


Not a single person has been convicted or under arrest for the Maidan massacre of the protesters and the police on February 18-20, 2014 after almost eight years of the investigations and six years of the trials in spite of this case of political violence being one of the best documented cases of the mass murder in history and one of the most significant human rights violations in independent Ukraine. No one was charged with attempted murders of almost half of the wounded protesters on February 20. Such revelations from the Maidan massacre trials and investigations corroborate findings of the previous academic studies that this massacre was a false flag mass killing with involvement of elements of Maidan leadership and the far right and that it included the massacre
of the police. The puzzling misrepresentation of the Maidan massacre, its investigation, and the trial by Western governments and the media requires further research concerning reasons for such misrepresentation. The revelations from the trials and investigations which confirm that the Maidan massacre of the protesters and the police was a false flag operation which involved Maidan snipers and elements of the Maidan leadership have major implications for understanding not only this crucial case of political violence in Ukraine. They have major implications for understanding the “Euromaidan” and the origins of the violent conflict in Ukraine and the
conflicts between Russia and Ukraine and between Russia and the West. The revelations from the Maidan massacre trials and investigations show that the narratives promoted by the Ukrainian and Western governments and with some notable exceptions the media that the Maidan protesters were massacred by government snipers and/or the Berkut police are false.

Contrary to the dominant narratives, the mass “Euromaidan” protests failed to achieve a political transition. This massacre started an armed conflict in Ukraine that led to the Ukrainian government overthrow and escalated into the secession and annexation of Crimea by Russia, the civil war in Donbas, Russian military interventions in Crimea and Donbas, and major protracted conflicts between Ukraine and Russia and the West and Russia.


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