What started off as a series of street protests against the government’s decision to put on hold the planned EU integration accord, eventually spilled out into an armed showdown between the radicals and police, and a coup in February, Vitaly Zakharchenko told Russia’s RIA Novosti news agency.
“When a group of radicals led by several Verhovna Rada deputies came to the government headquarters in downtown Kiev and started beating up the police officers there was nothing we could do about it because these MPs enjoyed parliamentary immunity,” Zakharchenko said.
“We kept asking parliament and the president to suspend these deputies’ parliamentary status so that we could prosecute them, but they did nothing to stop this, so I believe that the Party of Regions and the Communists, who were later banned by the new government, are responsible for what happened next,” he added.
Another factor that did not allow the authorities to quickly stabilize the situation were the Western diplomats who were shuttling between the protesters and the presidential administration telling the western public and President Viktor Yanukovych that what was what going on in Kiev was just a peaceful rally and they should not use force to break it up, Zakharchenko said.
“And all this at a time when the so-called “peaceful protesters” were lobbing Molotov cocktails at the police and shooting at them from hunting guns and assault rifles… Meanwhile, the diplomats kept saying that everything would be all right,” the ex-interior minister recalled.
And last but not least, some members of President Yanukovych’s inner circle turned out to be traitors who ordered the November 30, 2013 police crackdown on protesting students in Kiev which eventually led to the coup d’état of February 21, 2014,” Vitaly Zakharchenko said in conclusion.