April 3 - Ukrainian security officials say mass killings of protesters in February were conducted under the ''direct leadership'' of President Viktor Yanukovich. Nathan Frandino reports.
It was one of the deadliest days in Ukraine's history. Clashes between protesters and snipers left more than 100 people killed. It was the deadly precursor to then-President Viktor Yanukovich fleeing Kiev on February 21. Now, the head of the state security service blames those shootings on the Berkut riot police, and says their orders came directly from the top. (SOUNDBITE) (Ukrainian) STATE SECURITY SERVICE (SBU) CHIEF, VALENTYN NALYVAICHENKO, SAYING: "What was planned as an anti-terrorist operation, which was in fact the mass killing of people, took place under the direct leadership of ex President Yanukovich." At a news conference in Kiev, the official also said unidentified Russians were present throughout the conflict. (SOUNDBITE) (Ukrainian) STATE SECURITY SERVICE (SBU) CHIEF, VALENTYN NALYVAICHENKO, SAYING: "On January 20th, transport planes from Russia landed in Gostomel and Zhulyany airports. They brought 5,100 kilograms of explosives, special tools and additional weapons for the shooting and killing of our protesters on Maidan and next to Maidan." Officials also said 12 members of the Berkut force had been detained on suspicion of shooting peaceful protesters.