Fact check: Transfer of former Berkut officers not to affect investigation into Maidan cases

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In an editorial titled: Transfer of former Berkut officers not to affect investigation into Maidan cases. Long enough in the case of Volodymyr Zelensky, the comedian elected President of Ukraine.

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky has assured that the cases over killings of the Heroes of the Heavenly Hundred will be completed and the transfer of former Berkut officers within the detainee exchange will not affect the investigation.

“This will not affect the investigation into Maidan cases. First, we have been fulfilling our promises so far. That’s why, as I said, we will certainly complete the Maidan cases,” Zelensky told journalists at the Boryspil airport, where he met Ukrainians released from militant captivity on December 29, an Ukrinform correspondent reported.

The Head of State noted that the transfer of former Berkut officers was one of the conditions of exchange and the decision on them was difficult. At the same time, he stressed that five Berkut officers, two of whom were under home arrest and three stayed in pre-trial detention centers, still had no sentences at the time of the exchange.

“We returned our heroes. I think it was a difficult decision, a political decision, it is true. I believe that our fighters, our soldiers, our journalists are heroes, and I am sure that our priority is to return those alive. I respect the parents and relatives who have lost their loved ones on Maidan. Unfortunately, we cannot bring back those who passed away. Unfortunately, we cannot do that. But we can return those alive,” the President emphasized.

As reported, on December 29, the detainee exchange between Ukraine and the so-called “Donetsk People’s Republic” and “Luhansk People’s Republic” took place at the Mayorske entry-exit checkpoint in Donetsk region.

Seventy-six people returned to Ukraine. Ukraine transferred 127 detained people, being ready to transfer 141 people, but 14 of them refused to return to the militant-controlled territory.

In particular, Ukraine transferred five former officers of Berkut riot police – Pavlo Abroskin, Serhiy Zinchenko, Oleksandr Marynchenko, Serhiy Tamtura and Oleh Yanishevsky – allegedly involved in the crackdown on Maidan protests.

On December 28, 2019, the Kyiv Court of Appeal ruled to change the pre-trial restriction for former Berkut officer in the case over shootings during Maidan protests to personal recognizance.