Tuesday 23 January 2018

Ukraine says Kremlin aide directed snipers against Kiev protesters

100,000 demonstrators gathered in Kiev during the three-day rally against then president Viktor Yanukovich
100,000 demonstrators gathered in Kiev during the three-day rally against then president Viktor Yanukovich
Vladislav Surkov, who is accused of directing snipers during the Kiev protests

Independent.ie News Desk

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko claims there is evidence showing a top Russian diplomat directed snipers who shot some 100 activists in Kiev protests last year.

An influential aide to Vladimir Putin was behind the killings Mr Poroshenko said at a meeting with relatives of some of those shot during the protests against Moscow-backed president Viktor Yanukovich.

The protests topped Mr Yanukovich's government but culminated in war in the east of the country.

Who fired the sniper shots in Independence Square remains unclear but Mr Poroshenko has said police had evidence to suggest the Russian president's aide Vladislav Surkov directed "the foreign sniper groups".

Read More: Russia dismisses Ukraine's calls for UN peacekeepers in east

"Just a few days ago, the head of state security told me that, in questioning, special forces operatives gave evidence that the [Russian] presidential aide Vladislav Surkov led the organisation of groups of foreign snipers on the Maidan," Poroshenko said.

Posting on his website, he said that phone records showed there was evidence of regular conversations between Yanukovich and Russia's security services which revealed a "clear Russian link" to the shootings.

"They prepared for the shooting together in advance," he said.

Read More: Rebel fire continues, says Ukraine

Ukrainians will commemorate the anniversary of the climax of the protests this weekend amid disillusionment at the pace of reforms and resentment that no-one yet has been put on trial for the killings.

The global police organisation Interpol has put Yanukovich on its international wanted list at the behest of Ukraine on charges of embezzlement and financial wrongdoing.

Press Association

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