In an interview with Censor.net, former Lithuanian ambassador to Ukraine Petras Vaitiekunas said that he believes that the killing of activists during the Euromaidan Revolution in February 2014 was part of Vladimir Putin’s plan.
“The Maidan shooting was essentially the start of Russia’s aggression in Ukraine, and part of the plan to seize Crimea… I am certain that the blood at the Maidan was President Putin’s plan. Removing President Yanukovych was a necessary but insufficient condition for capturing Crimea and maintaining aggression,” the diplomat said.
In his opinion, a schism among Ukraine’s political elite was the Kremlin’s primary goal.
“They planned to create an alternative capital in Kharkiv, but that did not succeed due to the actions of patriots. They had to evacuate him [Yanukovych] to Russia. I think that in Russia’s General Staff there are plans for all eventualities, but politically it was advantageous for the Kremlin to have president Yanukovych in Russia. He had influence over more than just eastern Ukraine. Anything he said in Kyiv would not have played into the Kremlin’s hands. It’s uncomfortable for me to talk about this, but the disgraceful flight of Ukraine’s president during a time when all of the country’s law enforcement structures were deliberately destroyed – this was the Kremlin’s plan and goal. To convince everyone that there is no such thing as the Ukrainian nation, that Ukraine is a nonexistent state, that Ukraine in Europe is a failed project and that Ukraine’s only place is in the commonwealth around Russia,” the former ambassador remarked.
Between February 18 and 21, 2014, there was a mass killing of Euromaidan Revolution activists in the center of Kyiv. Special police forces known as “Berkut” surrounded the government quarter and closed Hrushevskyi Street. On February 18, for the first time since World War II, Kyiv’s underground did not operate, due to the supposed risk of terrorism. On the same day, the Trade Unions Building, where the revolution had its headquarters, was torched.
The morning of February 18 began with a peaceful procession to the Verkhovna Rada in support of a return to the Constitution of 2004. Thousands of people moved towards the parliament building, whose walls were lined with law enforcement officers and so-called “titushky” (mercenary agents). The protest grew into massive clashes. The police opened fire, shooting at demonstrators from the roofs of nearby houses. An assault began on the barricade in the center of Kyiv.
Roughly 90 people were killed, most of them Maidan activists.