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 Russia declines Ukraine’s request to extradite Berkut members suspected of slaying Maidan activists

Russian Federation refused to extradite 12 ex-soldiers of Berkut riot police detachment charged with murder of Heavenly Hundred as they became Russian citizens. A total of 21 Berkut soldiers are currently hiding in the territory of Russia.

This was stated by Head of the Special Investigations Department of the Prosecutor General's Office (PGO) Serhii Horbatiuk, Censor.NET reports citing 112 Ukraine TV channel.

"I mean those 26 Berkut members who were charged with involvement in murders on Feb. 20. Five of them are in custody and are being tried. Others are wanted. We sent Russia requests for their extradition taking into account investigative information suggesting that they may be in the Russian Federation. We requested to extradite 21 persons. But they replied that 12 persons received the citizenship of the Russian Federation. Two of them were granted temporary resident status," Horbatiuk said.

Read more: Ten Berkut officers accused of Maidan shootings receive Russian citizenship, - prosecutor's office

He also noted that ex-Commander of Berkut Special Operations Company Dmytro Sadovnyk received Russian citizenship just a month and a half after he escaped from the house arrest in Ukraine.

"What's interesting is that ex- Company Commander Sadovnyk, who was unlawfully released from custody in October 2014, obtained [Russian] citizenship in early December 2014, which is just a month and a half after he escaped from the house arrest. This was probably done under some simplified procedure, and if we talk about the Russian legislation, it stipulates that the simplified procedures are applied to those who proved themselves useful for the Russian Federation, which raises the relevant question," Horbatiuk said.

Read more: Russia seeks release of ex-Berkut officers accused of Maidan murders

According to the head of the PGO Special Investigations Department, the Russian Federation submitted no response as for the rest of the Berkut members so far.

As reported, 26 Berkut officers have been indicted for being involved in the killings of Maidan activists on Instytutska Street in Kyiv on Feb. 20, 2014. Five of them have been arrested and tried, while more than 20 have escaped.

The PGO referred the criminal proceedings against former Berkut riot police officers Zinchenko and Abroskin to court in 2014. They are suspected of shooting 39 Maidan activists on Instytutska street in Kyiv on Feb. 20, 2014. On Feb. 10, 2016, the PGO announced the investigation completed and sent criminal proceeding against three other former Berkut officers, Oleksandr Marinchenko, Serhii Tamtura, and Oleh Yanyshevskyi to court. According to the prosecutor's office, these persons are charged with committing a terrorist act, abuse of official duties, murder, attempted murder, obstruction of peaceful meetings and rallies, as well as abstraction and concealment of weapons after the crime. Criminal proceedings against all former Berkut officers are combined into one case.
 
 
 
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