Ukraine’s “Democratic Coup d’Etat”: Killing Civilians as a Pretext for Regime Change
By Prof Michel Chossudovsky
Global Research, March 06, 2014
26 February 2014
Url of this article:

Update: Sniper killings of Opposition Protesters was Ordered by Opposition Leaders. The leaders of EuroMaidan ordered the shooting of their own supporters

In an earlier article, GR reported (scroll down) that more than twenty opposition Maidan  protesters were killed by professional snipers on February 20.  “This was not a spontaneous event resulting from clashes between protesters and riot police, nor was it marked by an exchange of gunfire between the police and the Neo-Nazi militia.” (See full article below)

The sniper killings had the hallmarks of a carefully planned operation. They happened within ‘the space of a few hours”. Moreover, the killings coincided with the meetings of President Viktor Yanukovych with a high level EU delegation. In a bitter irony, these targeted killings were used as a pretext to topple the government and issue an arrest warrant directed against president Yanukovych.

Based on the release of a controversial leaked telephone conversation, we are now in a position to confirm that the sniper fire on innocent civilians was ordered by the Neo-Nazi Maidan militia which is supported by Washington and NATO.

Acknowledged in a leaked telephone conversation between EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton and the Estonian foreign minister Urmas Paet that the Maidan opposition leaders were behind the sniper killings directed against opposition protesters and police:

Urmas Paet: “There is now stronger and stronger understanding that behind the snipers, it was not Yanukovich, but it was somebody from the new coalition,”

Catherine Ashton: “I think we do want to investigate. I mean, I didn’t pick that up, that’s interesting. Gosh,”

According to RT:  The telephone call “took place after Estonia’s Foreign Minister Urmas Paet visited Kiev on February 25 at the peak of clashes between the pro-EU protesters and security forces in the Ukrainian capital. Paet also recalled his conversation with a doctor who treated those shot by snipers in Kiev. She said that both protesters and police were shot at by the same people.”

Urmas Paet “And second, what was quite disturbing, this same Olga [Bogomolets] told as well that all the evidence shows that the people who were killed by snipers from both sides, among policemen and then people from the streets, that they were the same snipers killing people from both sides,” the Estonian FM stressed.

Catherine Ashton; “Well, yeah…that’s, that’s terrible.”

Urmas Paet: So that she then also showed me some photos she said that as a medical doctor she can say that it is the same handwriting, the same type of bullets, and it’s really disturbing that now the new coalition, that they don’t want to investigate what exactly happened,”

According to RT,  the telephone file was uploaded by officers of Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) loyal to president Viktor Yanukovich.

Below is the text of the original article published by GR on February 26, which recounts the chronology of these sniper attacks against civilians and police.

It should also be noted that several of the paramilitary leaders who ordered these attacks namely (Neo-Nazi Svoboda, Right Sector and UNA-UNSO) now occupy positions of authority in the new government, overseeing the armed forces, police, and the prosecutor’s office. 

Read complete article below

Michel Chossudovsky,  March 5, 2014

Ukraine’s “Democratic Coup d’Etat”: Killing Civilians as a Pretext for Regime Change

Global Research, February 26, 2014

With the support of Washington, Ukraine’s opposition “transitional government” headed by the parliament’s speaker Oleksandr Turchinov has issued an arrest warrant directed against the democratically elected President Viktor Yanukovych, accusing him of having ordered the “mass murder” of civilians during the bloody riots and clashes with police forces on Maidan Independence Square.

This “mass murder” for which he is accused bears the fingerprints of the Right Sector and Neo-Nazi party Svoboda, which is supported and financed through various channels by the US and the EU.

The Maidan riots as well as the riots organized in other parts of the country were carefully staged with a timeline and specific political objectives in mind. Civilian casualties were part of this staged agenda, with a view to accusing president Yanukovych of “mass murder”, thereby providing a justification for regime change on humanitarian grounds.

Armed with riot shields and clubs, the [Neo-Nazi] group’s cadres have manned the front lines of the Euromaidan battles this month, filling the air with their signature chant: “Ukraine above all!”  (See Max Blumental, Is the US backing Neo-Nazis in Ukraine? Alternet, February 25, 2014)

The preparations for this “democratic Coup d’Etat” had been carefully coordinated between the US State Department (and Western intelligence) and various political actors in Ukraine including the Svoboda party.

Violence escalated on the 18th of February after Right Sector Neo-Nazi rioters and thugs attempted to take over the Ukrainian parliament building (Verkhovna Rada). They were repelled by the anti-riot police. According to RT “the move came despite the agreement on amnesty finally reached between the government and the opposition.”

The rioters then stormed and looted the nearby unprotected office of the ruling Party of Regions, also setting it on fire. One office worker was later found dead in the devastated building, with reports saying he died from smoke inhalation.  The clashes soon grew bloody, with footage showing masked rioters firing rifles and pistols at the police in central Kiev and reports describing dead protesters with gunshot wounds. (RT, February 20, 2014)

Click to view video:

The Sniper Killings

On the 20th of February, according to reports, more than twenty protesters were killed by professional snipers. This was not a spontaneous event resulting from clashes between protesters and riot police, nor was it marked by an exchange of gunfire between the police and Neo-Nazi militia.

The sniper killings had the hallmarks of a carefully planned operation. They happened within ‘the space of a few hours”. Moreover, the killings coincided with the meetings of President Viktor Yanukovych with a high level EU delegation. In a bitter irony, these targeted killings were used as a pretext to topple the government and issue an arrest warrant directed against president Yanukovych .

Who was behind these targeted sniper killings of innocent civilians? What was the underlying purpose? The Daily Telegraph reported that on the 20th of February:

at least 21 protesters were killed in the space of a few hours”…”… ten corpses were laid out on the pavement beneath the awning of a cafe on the northern edge of Independence Square, where thousands of demonstrators are still camped. At least three of the bodies displayed single bullet wounds to the heads.

The report suggests that the deaths were the result of a precise targeted killing operation pointing to the work of professional snipers:

One demonstrator, who gave his name as Andreiy, carried in one body on a green military stretcher. “He died between 90 minutes and two hours ago,” he told a Telegraph reporter. “These are all live rounds. You can see what they do. He and all the others were shot in the head, the neck or the heart. None were shot anywhere else like in the legs.” (Telegraph)

There were reports of snipers on rooftops using automatic weapons, but the identity of the snipers remains unknown. Invariably the Western media would refer, without evidence, to “government snipers”. Russia Today, however, confirmed the presence of both police and Neo-Nazi Svoboda gunmen in possession of automatic weapons.

The Western media, in chorus, without firm evidence and often contradicting their own reports, casually placed the blame on the Yanukovych government:

Protesters advanced on police lines in the heart of the Ukrainian capital Thursday, prompting government snipers to shoot back and kill scores of people in the country’s deadliest day since the breakup of the Soviet Union a quarter-century ago. (National Post, Feb 20, 2014)

Moreover, most of the Western media reports failed to acknowledge the role of armed Neo-Nazi gunmen and thugs who had integrated the protest movement and who were involved in systematically inciting violence.

We are dealing with a diabolical agenda: the deaths of protesters in Maidan square triggered by Neo-Nazi elements have been used to break the legitimacy of a duly elected government.

It was not in the interest of Yanukovych to order the targeted killings of civilians by roof-top snipers.

Underlying US foreign policy and CIA intelligence ops, civilian deaths are often triggered deliberately with a view to accusing the enemy and demonizing a foreign head of State or head of government

The Maidan sniper killings are, in this regard reminiscent of what occurred in Syria in mid-March 2011 at the very outset of the insurgency: civilians were killed by rooftop snipers in the border city of Daraa. The resulting casualties –without further investigation– were blamed on the government of Bashar al Assad. It was subsequently confirmed by Israeli and Lebanese press reports, that the  snipers were hired mercenaries.

The concept of killing civilians and placing the blame on the enemy goes back to Operation Northwoods (1962), a secret plan of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff titled “Justification for U.S. Military Intervention in Cuba”. ”The Top Secret memorandum (declassified) described U.S. plans to covertly engineer various pretexts that would justify a U.S. invasion of Cuba, including the assassination of Cubans living in the United States.

Neo-Nazi thugs at the forefront of Ukrainian protests

Neo-Nazi Militia in Ukraine

The Anti-Terrorist Operation

In mid-January the parliament adopted legislation with a view to curbing the protest movement.  The law also procedures pertaining to the registration of foreign non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and the categorization of  NGOs “financed from abroad” and involved in political activity in Ukraine as “foreign agents” (Reuters, January 16, 2014)

But the law, which ran to more than 100 pages, appeared directed mainly at preparing the ground for action to end the street protests that have been taking place in the capital Kiev and some other cities since November.

On the 19th of February, following the several days of violence, the government instigated an Anti-terrorist Operation.

Alexander Yakimenko, head of Ukraine’s security agency intimated that the riots were being led by radical Neo-Nazi groups involved in “seizing buildings of local authorities, Interior Ministry, Security Service, prosecutor’s offices, military units, ammunition depots. Courthouses are being burnt, vandals are destroying private homes, killing civilians. Only during the last day 1,500 firearms and 100,000 cartridges have been taken by criminals. website of the SBU

“What is happening today is a conscious use of violence by way of arson, murder, hostage-taking and intimidation … for the sake of pursuing criminal goals… All of that with the use of firearms. These are not just signs of terrorism but concrete terrorist acts.  By their actions, radical and extremist groups bear a real threat to lives of millions of Ukrainians,”,” Alexander Yakimenko, , Ukraine’s security agency chief (SBU), website of the SBU, also quoted in the Los Angeles Times, February 19, 2014),

Armed rioter on the streets of Kiev on February 18.(Screenshot from YouTube video uploaded by Ukraine's Interior Ministry)

Armed rioter on the streets of Kiev on February 18.(Screenshot from YouTube video uploaded by Ukraine’s Interior Ministry, courtesy RT)

Coincidentally, President Yanukovych had announced a “truce” and the holding of consultations with leaders of the opposition.

Upon the launching of the anti-terrorist operation on February 19,  police forces became actively involved in clearing out the Maidan and dismantling the barricades, leading to a confrontation between police forces and protesters.

While live ammunition was used by police against Neo-Nazi gunmen, the Western media acknowledges that the riot police used rubber bullets in its confrontation with rioters in Maidan square.

The Daily Telegraph accuses the government of being behind the sniper attacks, while also confirming in the same report that the riot police on the Maidan was using rubber bullets and water cannons with a view to dismantling the barricades:

Police responded by attacking the protest camp. Armed with water cannons, stun grenades and rubber bullets, police dismantled some barricades. But the protesters held their ground through the night, encircling the protest camp with new burning barricades of tires, furniture and debris.

On February 21, the Verkhovna Rada adopted a resolution banning the Security Council’s anti terrorist operation.

Reuters / Gleb Garanich

The Capture and Killing of Police Forces

Recorded casualties among policemen were high indicating that the rioters were in possession of fire arms. On February 19, Itar Tass quoting official sources confirmed that “Nine Ukrainian law enforcers died of gunshot wounds. 371 policemen turned for medical aid in departmental medical institutions, 349 of them were taken to hospital.”

The National Post  (February 20, 2014) confirms that “Ukraine protesters capture[d] 67 police as brief truce comes to a bloody end with at least 70 killed in latest clashes“.

What the report fails to mention is that the capture of riot police was not carried out by bona fide protesters, it was the coordinated by armed Neo-Nazi brown shirts.

The report quoting the Ministry of Health acknowledged that  “clashes between anti-government protesters and riot police in the capital Kiev left [Feb 20] at least 45 people dead, including three policemen” [in one day].

“three policemen were killed Thursday [Feb 20] and 28 suffered gunshot wounds, Interior Ministry spokesman Serhiy Burlakov told the AP”

The Ministry of Health subsequently confirmed that police deaths were in excess of ten with large numbers of wounded. EuroNews quoting official government sources said that police were also being targeted by unidentified snipers.

The police casualties signify that the “protesters” were in possession of fire arms and were targeting police. Moreover, the Telegraph also acknowledges that the protesters were involved in acts of arson and terrorism:

The latest bout of street violence began on Tuesday when protesters attacked police lines and set fires outside parliament, accusing Mr Yanukovych of ignoring their demands to enact constitutional reforms that would limit the president’s power – a key opposition demand. Parliament, dominated by his supporters, was stalling on taking up a constitutional reform to limit presidential powers.

Demonstrators, meanwhile, forced their way into the main post office on Kiev’s Independence Square, also known as the Maidan, after a nearby building they had previously occupied was burned down in fierce, fiery clashes late Tuesday with riot police. Thousands of activists armed with fire bombs and rocks had defended the square, a key symbol of the protests.

While the role of the Neo-Nazi party is not explicitly mentioned, the report tacitly acknowledges that “the more radical elements” were involved in acts of violence:

The ongoing violence on the square on Thursday indicates that more radical elements among the protesters may be unwilling to observe the truce and may not be mollified by the prospects of negotiations. Although the initial weeks of protests were determinedly peaceful, radicals helped drive an outburst of clashes with police in January in which at least three people died, and the day of violence on Tuesday may have radicalised many more

According to the Guardian,  armed gunmen belonging to the Svoboda party “prowled the upper floors of the hotel [Ukraina] with pistols, saying they were looking for police snipers.”

“Rioting youths set cars and lorries on fire and as the fires died down, they hacked the vehicles and hauled away the parts to erect new street barricades.”

Disclaimer: The contents of this article are of sole responsibility of the author(s). The Centre for Research on Globalization will not be responsible for any inaccurate or incorrect statement in this article.