KIEV, December 14 (RIA Novosti) – Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych has dismissed two top officials suspected of being involved in a crackdown on protesters last month, the presidential press service reported Saturday.
The officials, a deputy secretary of the country’s National Security and Defense Council, Volodymyr Syvkovych, and Kiev city head Oleksandr Popov, are accused of exceeding their limits of authority when a pro-EU demonstration was brutally dispersed in Kiev on November 30.
Ukraine unexpectedly put on hold preparations last month to sign landmark political and trade deals with the EU in favor of strengthening ties with Moscow. Kiev said that European integration would have caused the country financial losses at this point. The decision sparked protests throughout the country.
The Ukrainian opposition and EU have accused Russia of putting economic pressure on Kiev not to sign the deals. Moscow has vehemently denied that its trade embargoes and gas deliveries were a form of intimidation against Ukraine, saying Russia was only taking measures to protect its own economy.
Kiev police chief Valeriy Koryak and his deputy Petro Fedchuk earlier resigned following the brutal police crackdown. Ukrainian Prosecutor General Viktor Pshonka said Saturday that investigators would request house arrest for them. Earlier he said Popov and Syvkovych are also being investigated over the crackdown.
Ukrainian opposition party UDAR led by heavyweight boxer Vitali Klitschko said in a statement Saturday that punishment of officials suspected of involvement in the brutal dispersal of demonstrators is a good step but that more steps are needed on the part of authorities.
Meanwhile, Ukraine’s Interior Ministry said in a statement Saturday that it has put on an international wanted list Dmytro Korchynskiy, the leader of the Brotherhood radical group, who is suspected of organizing mass riots in downtown Kiev.