A massacre of protesters during the 2014 Maidan coup set the stage for the ouster of Ukraine’s elected president, Viktor Yanukovych. Now, an explosive trial in Kiev has produced evidence the killings were a false flag designed to trigger regime change.
Two police officers charged with the mass shooting of opposition protesters in Kiev’s Maidan Square in 2014 have been released after a Ukrainian court determined the fatal shots in the infamous massacre were fired from an opposition-controlled building.
On October 18 2023, Ukraine’s Sviatoshyn District Court determined that of the five officers on trial, one would be acquitted outright, while another was sentenced to time served for alleged “abuse of power.”
The remaining three, who no longer live in Ukraine, were convicted in absentia on 31 counts of murder and 44 counts of attempted murder. This, under a Supreme Court opinion stipulating suspects can be held collectively responsible for the actions of a group deemed criminal.
The verdict means no one will face jail time, or be in any way punished for their alleged role in the infamous Maidan massacre, which saw over 100 protesters killed, triggered an avalanche of international condemnation and led directly to the downfall of President Viktor Yanukovych, who fled the country mere days later.
The trial began in Kiev in 2016, but the case languished for years. Matters were further complicated in 2019, when Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky traded all five of the accused for prisoners held by Donbas separatists. Two subsequently returned on a voluntary basis to have their day in court.
Unsurprisingly, the verdict has triggered outrage among victims’ families, and prosecution lawyers say they plan to appeal. By contrast, the mainstream media has so far remained eerily indifferent. In an apparent attempt to distort the trial’s outcome, several outlets — including Reuters — simply referred to the court “sentencing” the officers in their headlines. The Kyiv Post went as far as falsely claiming all five had been found “guilty” of “Maidan crimes.”
But there is more to the story than these outlets have let on. As even the Western-funded Kyiv Independent acknowledged, “a former top investigator” previously tasked with probing the massacre said the verdict followed years of deliberate sabotage by Ukrainian authorities, who “have done their best to make sure there are no real results.”
The question of why officials in Kiev would seek to sabotage the probe has been largely ignored by legacy media outlets. But the verdict offers some highly revealing clues.
‘Unknown persons’ behind killing
Littered throughout the 1,000,000 word document are passages demonstrating conclusively that the sniper fire emanated from buildings controlled by the opposition to Yanukovych. Collectively, these excerpts strongly suggest the Maidan massacre was a false flag carried out by nationalist elements who aimed to ensure the president’s ouster.
The evidence “was quite sufficient to conclude categorically that on the morning of February 20, 2014, persons with weapons, from which the shots were fired, were in the premises of the Hotel Ukraina,” the court found.
Another section reveals “Hotel Ukraina” was “territory… not controlled by law enforcement agencies at that time.” Numerous video recordings show that before, during, and after the massacre, the building was overrun by the far-right opposition party Svoboda, whose leaders used the premises to coordinate their anti-Yanukovych activities on the streets below.
In at least 28 of the 128 shootings considered during the trial, the court ruled that whether “due to the lack of information, the incompleteness or contradictory nature of the submitted data,” the “involvement of law enforcement officers has not been proven,” and that “other unknown persons cannot be ruled out.”
Furthermore, the verdict effectively ruled out any involvement of Russian security and intelligence services in the massacre, a conspiracy theory promoted heavily by pro-Maidan elements.
“The ‘Russian trace’ was not confirmed after examining the relevant documents,” the court found. It concluded that those individuals who were suspected of having ties to Russian intelligence, and were being “constantly monitored,” did not have “any participation in the events on the street.”
For Dr. Ivan Katchanovski, a University of Ottawa political science professor who has spent years documenting overwhelming evidence of opposition responsibility for the massacre, such findings are a long-overdue vindication of his research. In comments to The Grayzone, he explained that the conviction of three police officers in absentia for the murder of 28 Maidan protesters and attempted murder of 36 was “based on a single fabricated forensic ballistic examination.”
The flawed “forensic examination of bullets reversed [the] results of 40 other ballistic examinations” taken previously — every one of which, Katchanovski notes, “showed bullets of Berkut police Kalashnikovs did not match those retrieved from bodies of killed Maidan protesters.”
In the end, “the trial produced an extraordinary volume of evidence proving protesters were shot at from various buildings controlled by pro-Maidan elements,” he says, pointing to the “over 100 witnesses, including 51 anti-government activists injured during the shooting, [who] testified to having been shot from these areas, or seeing snipers located there.”
Elsewhere, the verdict rejected a 3D-model reconstruction of the shooting of three Maidan activists, produced by a New York City-based “unconventional architecture practice” named SITU. This bogus analysis, which was financed to the tune of $100,000 by the Kiev branch of George Soros’ Open Society Foundations, was heavily promoted by The New York Times and other Western media outlets and held up as definitive proof that Ukrainian security forces were responsible for the deaths. But the SITU model changed the location of victim’s wounds — from the side or back of their body to the front — and altered the angles of the bullets’ trajectory to fraudulently convict police for their murders.
As Katchanovski explains, “This is deliberate fraud and disinformation.”
“SITU’s bogus modeling allowed The New York Times and many others to deny the existence of Maidan snipers, and brand as ‘conspiracy theory’ any suggestion the massacre was a ‘false flag,’” he says.
But if the Berkhut officers were not responsible for the dozens of deaths that day, the question remains: who was?
Maidan killers move to Odessa
In August 2023, the New York Times revealed that the Ukrainian gunrunner Serhiy Pashinksy, once openly condemned by Zelensky himself as a “criminal,” had become the top private supplier of arms to Ukraine. Pashinsky sourced grenades, artillery shells and rockets “through a trans-European network of middlemen,” then sold, bought and resold the arms “until the final buyer, Ukraine’s military, pays the most.” The hustle has enriched him to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars.
Pashinsky, a former Ukrainian parliamentarian, was a central figure in the Maidan coup. As The Grayzone subsequently revealed, he has been accused by three Georgian mercenaries of personally orchestrating the February 2014 massacre, supplying the weapons used and personally picking targets to be shot. When Israeli journalists confronted Pashinsky about these allegations, he threatened to have his associates track them down at home and “tear them apart.”
During the Maidan trial, defense lawyers made prominent mention of those same Georgian mercenary snipers. Along with Maidan leaders, and Western-backed fascist paramilitary Right Sector, the snipers were also implicated in the May 2014 Odessa massacre, a gruesome incident in which scores of Russian-speaking anti-Maidan protesters were forcibly herded into the city’s Trade Unions House, which was then set alight. In all, 46 died due to burn injuries, carbon monoxide poisoning, and attempts to escape the horrors by jumping out of windows. Non-fatal casualties reportedly totaled around 200.
Katchanovski says that as with Maidan, evidence points to the role of an extremely well-organized plot to carry out the Odessa killings:
“A Georgian sniper who confessed their Maidan massacre role in an Israeli documentary also revealed one of the massacre’s organizers dispatched them to Odessa right before the attack on separatists there.”
Post-coup, coverup after coverup
From the beginning of the Maidan trial, witnesses and prosecutors were subjected by far-right Ukrainian figures to a campaign of intimidation. During proceedings, Neo-Nazi C14 and Azov activists stormed the courtroom, attacked defendants, and placed tires outside the court in an apparent threat to burn the building down. The presiding judge was even beaten by a Maidan activist.
“Covert pressure from Zelensky’s administration and the far-right is likely much greater than what we have seen publicly,” Katchanovski commented to The Grayzone. “Ukraine’s judiciary isn’t independent. Zelensky’s administration routinely and openly interferes in proceedings, and even dismissed the entire Constitutional Court. It’s a very difficult situation for the judges and jury. There were direct threats from the far-right to convict the accused.”
Accordingly, some wounded protesters who initially testified to the presence of snipers in Maidan-controlled buildings later revoked their accounts. They subsequently admitted the prosecution met with them privately, to discuss what they’d said on the witness stand. For Katchanovski, “this is proof the coverup goes to the top of the Ukrainian government.”
Many Ukrainians, especially in the East, have held this same suspicion since Ukraine’s post-Maidan nationalist coup government adopted a wide-ranging amnesty law in 2014. That legislation granted Maidan protesters blanket immunity from prosecution for every serious crime imaginable, including murder, terrorism, and seizure of power. The law also prohibited official investigation of any anti-government agitator for these crimes, and ordered the destruction of all relevant evidence that had previously been collected.
A high-ranking official within Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Office has since admitted that prosecutors handling the Maidan massacre investigation and trial were covertly selected and appointed by none other than Pashinsky. Efforts to conduct a parliamentary commission to probe the killings were blocked by Petro Poroshenko, the rabidly anti-Russian President of Ukraine who succeeded the ousted Yanukovych in 2014.
The official tampering was understandable, Katchanovski argues, given how fundamental Kiev’s narrative of the Maidan massacre is to the legitimacy of the Ukrainian government. The false flag mass murder led directly to Yanukovych, justifying the withdrawal of government forces from downtown Kiev, the seizure of government buildings by Maidan activists, and the president’s unconstitutional removal by the Ukrainian legislature.
All these developments paved a path to the eight-year-long civil war in Donbas, which claimed the lives of over 14,000 and precipitated Russia’s invasion in February 2022. For Katchanovski, the link between the false flag massacre and ongoing war in Ukraine is obvious. The verdict, he says, makes that even more clear.
As retaliation for his groundbreaking investigations into the Maidan massacre, Katchanovski’s home and property were illegally seized by local courts in 2014 “with the involvement of senior officials.” Yet the professor remains more determined than ever to get to the bottom of the story.
“One day, the truth of what happened will be officially acknowledged — the only question is when,” he vowed. “Delayed acknowledgment and lack of justice in this case has already cost Ukraine very dearly. There are many conflicts, including the ongoing war, which spiraled from the Maidan massacre. Countless people have suffered needlessly as a result. The time for truth and reconciliation is well overdue.”