Ukrainian news outlet Slidstvo.info published claims that General Ilya Vityuk – the current head of the Cyber unit of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) now suspended from duty – filmed the shootings of protesters on Kyiv’s Maidan central square by Berkut officers while standing on their side of the street.

The Berkut, a now disbanded special police force, earned infamy under the regime of exiled Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych for its involvement in crackdowns of civil protests.

Slidstvo’s report was confirmed by the Prosecutor General's Office and the former head of the Maidan Crimes Investigation Department, Serhiy Horbatiuk.

On Feb. 20, 2014, on Instytutska Street in Kyiv, during the “Revolution of Dignity,” Kyiv’s Berkut special police shot and killed 48 protesters and wounded another 80.

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In a video taken at the time, a man in civilian clothes and a dark hat appears on the Berkut side at the corner of Bankova and Instytutska streets at the 3 minutes and 10 seconds’ point. The man is seen filming Berkut officers shooting at the protesters on his cell phone.

Slidstvo.info journalists asked the Prosecutor General's Office, whose department investigates crimes committed during the time of the Revolution of Dignity, whether the person in the video had been identified and interrogated.

The response to the journalists' request reads: “The person indicated in the request, who is recorded at 03:10 minutes of the video posted on the Internet video hosting site YouTube, is identified as an SBU officer. The said person was interrogated as a witness, but no useful information of evidentiary nature or interest to the investigation was obtained from his testimony.”

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The SBU accuses a Zaporizhzhia-based informant of passing data to the FSB after tracking the intensity of equipment traffic and approximate number of AFU troops heading for the front lines.

Slidstvo.info then asked Serhiy Horbatiuk, former head of the Department for Investigation of Crimes Committed during the Maidan demonstrations, and now a military officer, for his comments on the SBU officer who was questioned as a witness over the video.

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“Yes, we identified this person in 2019, and summoned him for interrogation at the same time. It was Ilya Vityuk, an SBU operative at the time. He did not provide us with the video he shot from the Berkut special forces. He said that his phone had been stolen from him in the gym, and he had deleted the video from Instytutska Street before that. He did not recognize any of the shooters either,” Horbatiuk said.

Kyiv Post asked Ilya Vityuk for his comments on the incident but has not received any response at the time of publication.

On April 4, Slidstvo.info investigative journalist Yevhen Shkurat published another story about the SBU officer, which asked how Vityuk and his wife, Yulia, could afford a $1.5 million apartment on their income, suggesting they could have benefited from some form of corruption.

On April 1, on the eve of the publication of the investigation by Slidstvo, Shkurat was approached by military enlistment officers in a Kyiv shopping center who attempted to serve him with a summons.

On reviewing CCTV footage of the encounter, Shkurat’s colleagues said that the police officers had been instructed to approach him by a person seen nearby, who turned out to be an SBU operative.

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Slidstvo also reported that they had received a warning not to publish the results of their investigations.

The head of the SBU, Vasyl Malyuk, said he has suspended Vityuk from his duties while he undertakes an investigation.

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