Ukrainian police officers from the Kiev-controlled Mariupol Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs were shot by a battalion of the National Guard “Azov” on May 9th, 2014, and the signal to open fire was given by the newly appointed at the time head of the city administration Valery Androshchuk, according to the witnesses of the new investigation of RIA Novosti into the activities of Ukrainian security officials in Donbass.
On the sixth anniversary of the riots and rallies in Mariupol, which were dispersed by units of the Ukrainian Armed Forces (UAF) and the “Azov” battalion, RIA Novosti publishes unique documents and witness statements of those events, as well as information about the former Lieutenant Colonel of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) – all of them either call into question or directly refute the official story put forward by Kiev about the death of police officers at the hands of supporters of the DPR on the eve of the independence referendum.
According to Kiev, on that day about 30 supporters of the self-proclaimed DPR allegedly captured the Mariupol Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and in order to regain control over it, units of the National Guard, including the “Azov” volunteer battalion, entered the city. At the height of the celebration by citizens on May 9th, shooting started in the city center, as a result of which at least 13 people died.
Those events are reflected, in particular, in the document of the Donetsk zonal department of the Military Law Enforcement Service of Ukraine – a copy of it was given to RIA Novosti by the former employee of the SBU Vasily Prozorov. He drew our attention to the inconsistencies in the document.
According to the document, “at 11:20 thirty armed unknown persons started an assault on the building of the Mariupol City Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.” According to Kiev, these unknown persons were the DPR militia – and in order to hinder them, the National Guard and “Azov” moved to the police building.
“Further in the document it is clearly stated that at 12 o’clock the assault of the building (of the National Guard) ended with the liberation of previously captured floors. Armed attackers retreated and fled to an unknown destination. In 40 minutes! I.e., in 40 minutes, unknown attackers first captured two floors and in the same 40 minutes, the ‘Azov’ battalion dislodged them from the building, while 30 unknown armed men fled to an unknown destination. None were captured or killed at the site of the assault,” insists Prozorov.
The testimonies of Ukrainian military and National Guard victims that day – senior sergeant of military unit No. 1141 of the National Guard of Ukraine Valentin Onishchuk, grenadier of military unit No. 4114 (Lvov) Roman Sapila, and head of intelligence of military unit No. 4114 Dmitry Afanasyev – have been published for the first time. Despite the attempts of the investigation to obtain information from them about supporters of the DPR participating in the shooting, all three claim that they do not know who shot them.
“No strangers were there, there were only police officers, and the ‘Azov’ battalion was wiping them out… I think that Mariupol police were defending themselves [against the military and “Azov” – ed]. They died inside the building,” said Prozorov.
In his opinion, the authorities simply wanted to scare the residents of Mariupol on the eve of the independence referendum of the Donetsk People’s Republic and disrupt it – the referendum was scheduled for May 11th. The Lieutenant Colonel of the SBU then communicated with the police from the same internal affairs department: “They are absolutely sure that it was Kiev’s provocation. They paid the price for refusing to comply with the order to disperse [demonstrations on the occasion of May 9th – ed].”
Four supporters of the DPR – Vyacheslav Biryukov, Aleksandr Stelnikovich, Viktor Skripnik, and Evgeny Druzhinin – were later arrested on suspicion of involvement in the riots. They waited a long time for the verdict of the court in Mariupol, but in five years of judicial investigations Kiev never managed to prove their participation in the capture of the building of the police department building. “The building of the Department of Internal Affairs was shot at, and those who did not want to go against the people, against the peaceful people, were shot. And now we’re blamed… while we were stood downstairs, helping these policemen to get out,” says Biryukov.
Their lawyer Vitaly Omelchenko, who dealt with the circumstances of the case, also names specific perpetrators from among the security forces. According to him, the conflict in the Department of Internal Affairs started because the new head of the department Valery Androshchuk, sent from Kiev, started shooting at his subordinates, who refused to disperse the demonstration of citizens, and wounded three police officers, and then called for reinforcements. He also sent a signal that it is possible to open fire at the building of his own city administration, said the lawyer to RIA Novosti.
“The order to fire heavy and small arms at the Department of Internal Affairs was given by the acting head of the city administration of Mariupol police Valery Androshchuk… He said that there were no police officers in the Department of Internal Affairs building, but only thugs. Although there were two shifts on duty, they were just changing, and about 30 policemen,” he said.
As a result, in December 2019 the supporters of the DPR were released via a prisoner exchange between Donetsk and Kiev.
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