On 18 October, Kyiv's Sviatoshynskyi District Court announced a decision in the case of the shooting of protesters on Instytutska Street in the Ukrainian capital in February 2014.
Details: There are five accused Berkut fighters in the case: Pavlo Abroskin, Serhii Zinchenko, Oleksandr Marynchenko, Serhii Tamtura and deputy regiment commander Oleh Yanishevskyi.
Tamtura was acquitted by the court; Marynchenko was released from custody, given the time he served in the remand centre. The court sentenced Yanishevskyi, Abroskin and Zinchenko, but all three are now in Russia – after the prisoner exchange held in 2019.
The presiding judge, Serhii Diachuk, read out the verdict.
The following people were recognised guilty in mass murder of unarmed protesters:
- Oleh Yanishevskyi faces a life sentence and is stripped of all his titles and ranks.
- Special Forces officer Pavlo Abroskin was sentenced to 15 years behind bars, with deprivation of the right to hold any office for three years.
- Serhii Zinchenko is sentenced to 15 years, with deprivation of the right to hold a position for three years; he is also stripped of his rank.
However, these three Berkut soldiers were released from custody in December 2019 as part of a prisoner exchange with Russia.
The court acquitted two other Berkut soldiers who remained in Ukraine, namely Serhii Tamtura and Oleksandr Marinchenko.
Oleksandr Marynchenko was found guilty of abusing his office. The court sentenced him to five years in prison, depriving him of the right to work in law enforcement for two years.
Yet he has "served" his main punishment remaining in custody: court included the period of him being in a pre-trial facility, counting a one day of pre-trial imprisonment for two days of his real sentence.
Abroskin and Marynchenko have been acquitted under a number of articles.
Former police officer Serhii Tamtura was acquitted under all articles.
The prosecution stated that the sentence will be appealed.
The court proceeding lasted for almost six years: from May 2016 to November 2022. Since then, the jury has been in a meeting room for almost a year.
- On 29 December 2019, the Russians handed over 79 citizens who were being held by Russia and the separatist militants, and Kyiv handed over 127 people. Within the framework of the exchange, Ukraine sent back to Russia five former Berkut unit members accused of the shootings during the Revolution of Dignity in February 2014.
- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy explained that handing over five former Berkut members was a condition for conducting the exchange: without them handed over, Ukraine would not have brought back the Defence Intelligence members who fought in the settlement of Debaltseve, Donetsk Oblast.
- Yet on 8 February 2020, it was revealed that two out of five Berkut members returned to Kyiv; these were Oleksandr Marynchenko and Serhii Tamtura who were under house arrest due to accusations and had been handed over to the pro-Russian militants in the occupied territories of Ukraine.