Ukraine’s Controversial Berkut Police 5 Years After Dissolution
Sergei Kusyuk was seen in Moscow, where he led the arrests of demonstrators
There is demand for Sergey Kusyuk both in Kiev and in Moscow, but in completely different ways.
Ukraine issues an international arrest warrant for the former commander of the Interior Ministry unit “Berkut” in connection with the brutal suppression of the Euromaidan protests in 2013-2014.
However, now Kusyuk is a colonel of the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs and serves in the OMON. He was spotted on August 3 as he directed the arrests of demonstrators calling for fair elections in the Russian capital..
A correspondent for Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty, covering the arrests of demonstrators and passers-by on Novy Arbat in Moscow on August 3, filmed Kusyuk, who was in charge of the operation, commanding a group of more than a dozen riot police in masks and helmets.
Demonstrators and eyewitnesses claim that while some of the people detained by Kusyuk participated in a peaceful unauthorized demonstration on the nearby pedestrian street, Old Arbat, many others were simply walking in Moscow’s bustling shopping area..
Kusyuk has not been seen for the first time during the dispersal of demonstrators in Moscow. On June 12, 2017, journalists saw him perform a similar role during a protest organized by Alexei Navalny against corruption under President Vladimir Putin.
The 2017 video shows how riot policemen address Kusyuk “Comrade Colonel”.
In Ukraine, Kusyuk is notorious. On December 28, 2014, the Ukrainian government issued an international arrest warrant for Kusyuk, who was the commander of the Berkut special forces unit in Kiev during the administration of Moscow-friendly President Viktor Yanukovych..
Ukrainian authorities accused him of “participating in the massacre of activists in the center of Kiev”.
Kusyuk was accused of ordering the police to beat up protesters on the Independence Square in the Ukrainian capital on the night of November 30, 2013.
This brutal incident led to a significant increase in the number of demonstrators in the city center, fueling the protests that eventually forced Yanukovych to flee the country to Russia at the end of February 2014..
It is believed that Kusyuk was one of the 70 “Berkut” men who fled to Crimea, which was then captured by Russia. He later moved to Russia.
It is not known whether Kusyuk accepted Russian citizenship, as many of the Berkut officers did. In May 2014, Russian Minister of Internal Affairs Vladimir Kolokoltsev held an oath ceremony for the adoption of citizenship for ten former Berkut members and welcomed them into the ranks of the Russian police.
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