3 – Yanukovych TALKS: Katchanovski researches the Maidan
BSSB.BE academia.edu 02.12.2016
The “Snipers’ Massacre” on the Maidan in Ukraine
Ivan Katchanovski, Ph.D.
School of Political Studies
University of Ottawa
Paper prepared for presentation at the Annual Meeting of American Political Science Association in San Francisco, September 3-6, 2015
The analysis of videos and other evidence shows that these protesters were killed on Instytutska Street between the Hotel Ukraina and Kinopalats after Berkut members and Omega snipers retreated at 9:20am to the first barricade near the entrance to the metro Khreshchatyk on Instytutska Street and then at 9:28am to the second barricade made of Kamaz trucks. These videos and bullet marks on poles, trees, and the Hotel Ukraina walls and windows on several different floors at the top, middle, and lower parts confirm that the police fired live ammunition from these barricades.
Reported ballistic trajectories also point to similar shots fired from the Cabinet of Ministers Club and the National Bank building, both of which were in the area 33 controlled by the Berkut and Omega.
But a rational reason for such shooting could have been not to kill the unarmed protesters but to fire warning shots at advancing protesters and target shooters firing at both the police and protesters from the Hotel Ukraina and Zhovtnevyi Palace. For example, the recording of Spilno TV live broadcast from the Hotel Ukraina shows that the police at the first and then the second barricade came under live ammunition fire, in particular automatic fire, from that general direction.
- There is also evidence that groups of protesters were lured into the killing zones near the Berkut barricade by several protesters who led the way and called others to follow them. The majority of the victims (20 protesters) was in these two areas. It would be extremely irrational from the perspective of their personal safety to go there after witnessing other groups of the protesters massacred nearby.
- There is evidence that such luring was intentional. Videos show that a protester in black was leading one of these groups even after the group members noticed that a bullet barely missed them and hit a tree at 9:38am.
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While the Maidan leaders and the Ukrainian media tried to cast the protesters as heroes who sacrificed their lives for the cause of the “Euromaidan” protest movement, the Maidan protesters also acted rationally by trying to hide beyond the wall, trees, the barricade, and use shield to obscure their visibility from the Berkut and Omega positions directly in their front, but they were shot from directions that they did not expect.
The absolute majority of those killed came to the Maidan a couple of days before February 20th massacre, in particular during the live information about the moves of the Berkut, the Internal Troops, and the SBU units, specifically Alfa commanders and snipers because of interception of their radio communications, including encrypted ones. The video compilation shows that Eduard Hrynevych was killed
A second later, there is a sound and a smoke from a Kalashnikov shot by a Berkut policeman. Videos and timestamped twitter posts by Ukrainian and foreign journalists show that the Berkut policemen were shooting at the 13th/14th floor stairways shortly before 9:43am and the first and second floor stairways around the same time.
- Snipers were filmed and reported by Maidan protesters on these floors of the Maidan-controlled Hotel Ukraina. For instance, a Facebook post by an Ukrstream journalist at 9:43am local time states that journalist was shot at Ukraine hotel.
- Based on the content analysis of the videos and photos, this was a Ruptly reporter hit by a ricochet bullet in his bulletproof vest on the 14 th floor of this hotel. While the Ruptly video claimed that he was shot by a Maidan sniper, the bullet holes in the window point to a Berkut barricade. 178
Similarly, timestamped tweets by a France 2 TV and Komsomolska Pravda journalists show that Berkut was shooting with Kalashnikovs at the direction of the Hotel Ukraina, specifically at a window on stairways between the first and the second floors, shortly before 9:45am and 9:52am, when the protesters were shot by snipers from the Hotel Ukraina.
“Снайпери стріляють по журналістах в готелі Україна,” Ukrstream.TV, February 20, 2014, https://ukrstream.tv/videos/snaipieri_striliaiut_po_zhurnalistakh_v_ghotieli_ukrayina_
Apparent positions of Anatolii Zhalovaha in the videos seconds before a deadly gunshot in 9:43am and in a photo immediately after his killing and whip-like sound of gunshots during
- 35 his killing indicate that he was shot dead from a rifle from the Maidan-controlled Hotel Ukraina and not from an AKM by the Berkut from a barricade in front of him.
- An exit bullet hole in the back of his helmet and a testimony of another Maidan protester show that Zhalovaha was killed in the back, i.e., which is consistent with the location of this hotel.
- A Maidan witness also disclosed a finding of official investigation that Zhalovaha was shot from the same exact weapon as 10 other protesters were killed.
- This likely refers to the same findings revealed during the Maidan trial that at least ten protesters, specifically Andrii Saienko and Maksym Shymko, were killed from a single weapon from the Hotel Ukraina.
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The group of the protesters, who were shouting about snipers at the Hotel Ukraina, were massacred, in particular from this hotel and other Maidan-controlled buildings and areas, starting at about the same time as the protesters near the barricade on the other side of Instytutska Street. The timestamped video compilation shows that Oleh Ushnevych was shot less than 45 seconds before Zhalovaha.
He was shot at 9:43am when he was already beyond a wall, which completely shielded him and several other protesters from lines of fire the government positions. It was physically impossible to kill him from the Berkut barricade or Alfa snipers positions. Serhii Trapezun, who was hiding behind the same wall and tried to carry Ushnevych, said in a little-known video that Ushnevych was rumored among the protestors of having been shot from a handgun from some 10 meter distance behind the bushes.
The official investigation found that one of the protesters was killed from a handgun, but crucial information about his identity is not disclosed. A report by Euromaidan SOS and the prosecution charges announced during the Maidan massacre trial revealed that the investigation determined that Ushnevych was not killed by the Berkut but likely from the Hotel Ukraina and his killing was simply omitted from the trial of the Berkut policemen.
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Tityk stated that he and some of his fellow protesters knew that there were “snipers” at
the hotel, specifically after two protesters were wounded there near the wall. He himself was wounded at 9:44am in the back and in his right leg when he was running from behind the wall along with a few other protesters, including Trapezun, who tried to carry Ushnevych.
Tityk’s position in the moment of his shooting points to live ammunition fire from the Hotel Ukraina. He can be identified by his red jacket in a famous video which captured his wounding and shooting of other members of his group and was broadcast around the world by various TV networks.
Serhii Trapezun stated that shots that killed and wounded most members of his group came from the sides and from the back. He said that he was wounded from the Hotel Ukraina or possibly two-story building on the left (Horodetskoho Street). 185
He is seen falling to the ground during a gunfire at 9:44am while trying to run away from live ammunition fire with a few other protesters, including Tityk. Trapezun was filmed in the famous video of the massacre lying on the ground after he was wounded with his hand extended towards the hotel. In his interview during medical treatment in Israel, Trapezun said that he saw snipers shooting at the protesters from the hotel roof and from a hotel room.
This video showing massacre of his group of the protesters was broadcast by numerous Western and Ukrainian TV channels and social media. It was filmed by the Belgian VRT TV from the Hotel Ukraina. This video was broadcast on major TV channels in Ukraine and many Western countries, such as the US, the UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, and it was presented as the evidence that government snipers or the police killed these protesters. (See Photo 4).
Photo 4. Oleh Ushnevych (last from the top), Volodymyr Zherebnyi (bottom right corner) on the ground at 9:44am shortly after they were killed, Roman Varenytsia (the last from the right) shortly before he would be killed there, and Serhii Trapezun (top left corner) shortly after he was wounded by snipers shooting at the protesters from the Hotel Ukraina and other Maidan-controlled locations. (Source: Het journaal 1 – 20/02/14,” VRT Nieuws , February 20, 2014, http://deredactie.be/cm/vrtnieuws/videozone/programmas/journaal/2.32091)