The Sevastopol Berkut’s ex-commander and three subordinates, suspected of fleeing to Russia with weapons, face charges, Ukraine’s State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) reported on Facebook on Feb. 2.
These individuals, alongside special forces from other Berkut units, actively participated in forcibly suppressing peaceful protests in Kyiv during 2013-2014. The ex-commander publicly boasted about his involvement in shooting unarmed Maidan activists, resulting in three deaths and injuring over 200 people, said the SBI.
The suspects, along with their colleagues, guarded the Presidential Administration in the final days of the rule of fugitive President Viktor Yanukovych. The SBI reported that they received an additional 40 Kalashnikov assault rifles on the night of Feb. 20-21, 2014.
The attackers returned to Sevastopol with weapons after Yanukovych’s escape, according to the agency. Upon learning about Berkut’s disbandment, the ex-commander hid in the cardiology department of a local hospital, awaiting the arrival of the Russian invaders in Crimea.
Read also: SBI serves notice of suspicion to former Berkut commanders for attempt to destroy Maidan murder evidence
Following the peninsula’s seizure, he suddenly “recovered” and actively began to recruit former subordinates to join the Russian Federation and assist in the further occupation of Crimea, said the SBI.
Under the ex-commander’s orders, the suspects took turns manning checkpoints established by the Russians on all highways leading from the mainland to the peninsula. Acting without authority, the ex-Berkut officers inspected vehicles, checked documents, and denied entry to international observers, journalists, law enforcement officers, and military personnel, aiding Russia in Crimea’s occupation.
The suspects received positions in the occupation authorities for aiding the agressor, with the ex-commander even elected as a senator to the Federation Council of the Russian Federation.
Read also: Kyiv Court closes Euromaidan case against Berkut officers
The suspects have been informed in absentia of the suspicion of possession of firearms, high treason, and deliberate actions aimed at changing Ukraine’s territorial borders, carrying a maximum punishment of 15 years in prison.
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Read the original article on The New Voice of Ukraine