Sunday, March 30, 2014

Battle of Kiev

Jamie Dettmer has seen what he considers convincing photographic evidence that the sniper attacks on protesters at Maidan were carried out by the KGB linked and Russian trained SBU. The rather absurd claims by Putin that the murderers were actually pro-European agents provocateurs never made sense, even if they were swallowed by many credulous anti-Americans.

A couple of excerpts:

Most of the photographs accompanying this article were taken on February 20, and they appear to reveal the truth about who carried out the shootings in Independence Square on that day—a fateful one for both Ukraine and for Europe, which suddenly witnessed the continent’s worst political violence of the 21st century. The pictures shared exclusively with The Daily Beast show members of a crack anti-terrorist unit known as the Alfa Team in the courtyard of the headquarters of Ukraine’s feared state security service, the SBU, preparing themselves for battle. The agency’s seven-story headquarters occupies an entire city block and is just three streets from the Maidan.

The SBU is the successor intelligence agency to the Ukrainian branch of the Soviet-era KGB and it still maintains exceptionally close ties to Moscow. For many years “leading SBU functionaries came from the KGB,” says Boris Volodarsky, a former Russian military intelligence officer and author of the book The KGB’s Poison Factory. He says Russia’s intelligence service, now known as the FSB, has made sure over the years to maintain deep penetration of its Ukrainian counterpart and to ensure that its “agents and associates remain in place.” That was easily done during the presidency of the pro-Russian Yanukovych...

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More than a hundred people were killed and at least 900 injured in February during the battles that seesawed in Kiev’s Independence Square between security forces loyal to Yanukovych and the protesters, who came from all walks of life and from across Ukraine’s political spectrum. They were determined to topple him and end the five-year kleptocracy in which he, his family and close associates looted the country to the tune of $70 billion.

February 20 marked a critical turning point in the conflict. It was the most violent day in the history of Ukraine since Soviet times and it proved to be the undoing of the Yanukovych regime. The snipers failed to break the spirit of Yanukovych’s opponents, but the carnage inspired key loyalists in his ruling Party of Regions, including the city’s mayor and members of the Rada, or parliament, to quit. The next day Yanukovych fled the capital, and then the country.