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Europe

Yanukovich 'issued criminal order' to fire at protesters

© afp

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-04-03

Deposed president Viktor Yanukovich "issued the criminal order" to fire at protesters in Kiev during a February surge in unrest that claimed nearly 90 lives, said Ukraine's acting interior minister, Arsen Avakov, on Thursday.

"Yanukovich issed the criminal order ... to open fire against protesters on February 18 to 20," Avakov told reporters.

Ukraine on Thursday accused both Yanukovich and agents from Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) of being responsible for the deaths in Kiev.

"FSB agents took part in both the planning and execution of the so-called anti-terrorist operation," he added.

Three months of often violent anti-government protests by supporters of closer ties with the EU culminated in two days of carnage in Kiev that led to parliament's February 22 ouster of Yanukovich and his Russian-backed government.

Nearly 20 people -- most of them protesters -- died of gunshot wounds during hours of street battles across central Kiev on the night of February 18.

More than 60 people were killed on February 20 during battles that broke out on Kiev's central Independence Square in the morning and continued into the late afternoon.

Many of those who died appeared to have been killed by snipers.

Russia has suggested that ultra-nationalists were the first to open fire against the police in an effort to spark a larger altercation that could then be blamed on Yanukovich and his backers in the Kremlin.

Ukrainian prosecutors of Thursday announced the arrest of 11 Ukrainian anti-riot police officers and their commander for their involvement in the unrest.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

 

Date created : 2014-04-03

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