4 Ukrainian Soldiers Wounded in Action; 4 Accused Berkut Riot Police Flee Ukraine

April 15, 2017
Ukrainian soldiers start the celebration of Easter on Holy Saturday at the front on April 15, 2017. Photo by ATO

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4 Ukrainian Soldiers Wounded in Action; 4 Accused Berkut Riot Police Flee Ukraine

Berkut riot police accused of killing Maidan demonstrators have fled Ukraine. Screen grab from video April 14, 2017. 

Col. Andriy Lysenko, spokesman for the Ukrainian Defense Ministry on the ATO [Anti-Terrorist Operation] reported that 4 Ukrainian soldiers were wounded over night, Ukrainska Pravda reported.

In its early morning dispatch, the ATO reported 45 attacks from Russia-backed forces. In its evening dispatch, the ATO reported 16 attackes, bringing the total for the last 24 hours to 61.
On the coastal line, over night, the marines at Vodyanoye were attacked with 120-mm mortars, an armed BMP and heavy machine guns. Mortar-launchers of 82-mm caliber were used near Krasnogorovka. An armed BTR, anti-tank grenades and heavy machine guns were used to attack Pavlopol. At Shirokino, militants fired from an armed GMP and used small arms at Gnutovo and Talakovka.
During the day, militants fired 120-mm mortars, grenade-launchers and heavy machine guns on Ukrainian positions at Maryinka. At Pavlopol, they used anti-tank grenade-launchers and heavy machine guns near Chermalyk. Grenade-launchers and heavy machine guns were used to attack the Ukrainian marines at Vodyanoye, and near Shirokino, small arms. Snipers were active near Maryinka.
On the Donetsk line, over night militants fired 82-mm mortars, grenade launchers and heavy machine guns at Ukrainian positions at Avdeyevka, Kamenki and Zaytsevo. Verknyetoretskoye was attacked with 82-mm mortars and Optynoye with heavy machine guns. Anti-tank grenades and heavy machine guns were fired on Peski.
During the day, grenade-launchers and heavy machine guns were fired on Peski and small arms used on Kamenki. Optynoye was attacked by heavy machine guns. Near Troitskoye, snipers were active.
On the Lugansk line, over night Krymskoye and Katerinovka were sturck by 120-mm mortar fire and grenade-launchers. Popasnyaya was attackedwith grenade-launchers and Stanitsa Luganskaya with small arms.
During the day, militants fired on Lobachev with grenade-launchers and on Novoaleksandrovka with small arms. 
Ukrainian forces did not return fire.
o ICRC Brings Humanitarian Aid to POWs in Makeyevka Colony in Donetsk Region
For the first time, the International Committee of the Red Cross was able to provide packages to Ukrainian POWs held by Russia-backed separatists in Makeyevka Colony in Donetsk, Ukrainska Pravda reported, citing vice speaker of parliament Irina Gerashchenko on her Facebook page.
The ICRC was able to reach an agreement to bring packages for Easter. 
“It is a small humanitarian and psychological [assistance], but such an important support for the unlawfully detained Ukrainians,” said Gerashchenko. She said that agreements made at the recent meeting in Minsk were “gradually being implemented.”
o Former Berkut Riot Police Flee Ukraine, Release Video Appeal

According to Ukrainska Pravda, former Berkut riot police who have apparently fled to Russia could have in fact left Ukraine at any time as Ukrainian border guards did not have the right to detain them, Serhey Horbatiuk, head of the special investigation department of the Ukrainian Prosecutor General’s Office reported.

Horbatiuk said he had not yet received confirmation from the Ukrainian Border Service in response to his queries that the Berkut police had indeed crossed the border into the Russian Federation.
He explained that despite an indictment at Pechera District Court, the court designated measures of restraint that made it easy for the suspects to flee, either an order to appear in court on their own volition, or night-time house arrest, i.e. a curfew from 23:00 to 7:00 am, without any other restraints during the day. 

Vitaly Goncharenko and three of his former Berkut colleagues, Aleksandr Kostiuk, Vladislav Mastega, and Artyom Voylokov released a video on YouTube yesterday April 14, saying they were “performing their Constitutional duty” in 2013-2014 when they dispersed Maidan demonstrators and complained that they were being “persecuted”. They indicated that they were speaking from Russia.

Goncharenko, along with another suspect Aleksandr Belov, is accused of killing 3 people on February 18, 2014 on Krepostny Lane during the Maidan demonstrations. He was released by the Appeals Court on April 6 on his own recognizance with only a requirement to appear in court. The other two were charged with throwing two demonstrators off the roof on to Hrushevsky Street during the demonstrations.

The Berkut policemen were detained in Kharkiv in June 2016; all were working for the police in that region.

Now they are out of the reach of Ukrainian law.

— Catherine A. Fitzpatrick 

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