Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Ukraine Crisis: Video From Maidan Sniper Killings in Kyiv

Here are two contrasting POV videos that give a glimpse into what really happened in the last hours of the mass protests in Ukraine that forced president Viktor Yanukovych out of power on Feb. 21.

First is a 13-minute video of heavily armed police and government snipers moving into attack positions on Feb. 20 or 21.

Second is a 41-minute video from the protesters' side, showing how police and government snipers shot numerous unarmed demonstrators -- in some cases as they withdrew -- and medics trying to help those stricken.

The bloodbath was apparently part of a larger plan to encircle and open fire on thousands of protesters camped out in downtown Kyiv, involving 22,000 police and hundreds of special forces troops, according to Ukrainian legislator Hennadi Moskal, a former deputy interior minister.

Tracksuit-Wearing Government Thugs

Yanukovych was also accused of hiring thousands of tracksuit-wearing thugs -- known as "titushki," after Vadim Titushko, a 20-year-old martial arts enthusiast who beat up two journalists at a pro-government demonstration last year.

Titushki attacked and in some cases reportedly tortured and killed anti-government protesters and at least one journalist, while badly beating a second journalist, Tetyana Chornovol, after a dramatic car chase caught on her dashboard camera. Chornovol had been active in the Kyiv protest camp and had been investigating Yanukovych's corruption.

Vadim Titushko himself later switched sides and announced he supported the mass protests against Yanukovych, acknowledging he had made a mistake.

Since Yanukovych fled Ukraine, titushki have still been reported in eastern Ukrainian cities and Crimea. In this video, titushki in Crimea, calling themselves "self-defense" members, attempt to confront Ukrainian marines at a base blockaded by Russian armoured personnel carriers.

Surveillance Notes Hint at Attack

UPDATE: Journalists working on the YanukovychLeaks website, who are sifting through thousands of documents left behind by the deposed president at his lavish estate, report that Yanukovych's head bodyguard, Konstyantyn Kobzar, made what appear to be surveillance notes about Chornovol's movements around the time of the attack.

The notes say: "Chornovol went to Maidan," followed by "23:10 turned off her phone. 23:50 turned it on at Khreshchatyk str." The notes go on to say "23:50 cleanup operation started" and "01:00 done (clean)."

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