“Berkut” Beatings of Lviv Protestors in Kyiv – December 26, 2013

i.press.ua, 26 December 2013, translated from Ukrainian by William Risch

“Berkut” Soldiers Beat and Held Students from L’viv in Kyiv

One L’vivian Taken by Ambulance for Head Wound

On December 25, soldiers from a “Berkut” special unit in Kyiv beat up and held students from L’viv who had been returning home from the Euromaidan in their own car. They were released only after members of Parliament and human rights activists interceded on their behalf.

The incident happened on the afternoon of December 25 on Prospekt Peremohy in Kyiv. Human rights activist Iuriy Martynenko talked about it.

Martynenko said that seven young guys from L’viv, among whom were students and aides to a member of Parliament, came to Kyiv in their own minibus to support protests against the government’s disruption of its Eurointegration course.
“They were in the capital for three days, and they decided to go home. They stopped on Prospekt Peremohy to drink some coffee. Two minibusses with darkened windshields came up to them when they were standing on the sidewalk near their parked vehicle. Instantly Berkut soldiers ran out of them and began beating them all fiercely…,” he said, quoted by Liha.Novosty.

The human rights activist also said that they did not at all tell the young men why they were being held. “When they were taken away, the guys asked what happened. The police answered in Russian, ‘You’re Banderites! You all ought to be killed. Why did you come here?’,” Martynenko claimed.

According to Martynenko, six were taken and sent to the Pechers’kyi district police station, while one was taken away by an ambulance.

He also emphasized that the Pechers’kyi district police headquarters did not file any papers dealing with them, regarding breaking the law or anything else, because there was no basis for it. When members of Parliament and human rights activists began to intervene, they let them go and gave them back their minibus.

Iuriy Martynenko told the following to iPress.ua: “Seven guys from L’viv called on me as a lawyer. When I arrived, one of them, Oleh Matiash, had been taken away by ambulance. I didn’t see him. I gave information to journalists about what these guys had told me. Then I received medical documentation, which I have on me, indicating that Matiash had suffered a head wound, brain trauma, and numerous wounds to head and chest tissue. He’d shown his bruises on his legs to a judge who had stopped by his cell. Fortunately, he had no fractures.”

The MVS (Ministry of Internal Affairs) so far has refused to comment officially on this incident.


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