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Ukraine Blames Exiled ex-President for Sniper Killings

WASHINGTON — Ousted and exiled former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich is blamed for the deaths of anti-Russian protesters earlier this year, shot dead by police snipers.

Magness, Stavytsky, Ponomarenko, Payette, Yanukovich and Johnson attend a signing ceremony in Kiev [1]Reuters reported [2] that Arseny Yatseniuk, the new prime minister, told them that Yanukovich was involved in the country’s security service (the SBU) using snipers to kill protesters.

More than 100 protesters were killed by the police snipers, but Yanukovich escaped justice when he fled the country and went to Russia. Yanukovich was ousted by a vote [3] by the country’s parliament as the crisis reached a fever pitch [4].

The SBU acknowledged that those representing Russia’s FSB security forces had been at the SBU headquarters in the capital city of Kiev during the escalating protest movement. They also said that Russia flew in explosives to use against the protesters.

After Yanukovich’s ouster, Russia and Russian President Vladimir Putin made the decision to annex the pro-Russian region of Crimea from the Ukrainians and felt they had a right [5] to do so. After much international protest [6], weak sanctions [7], and seizing Ukrainian military bases [8], personnel and equipment in the peninsula, Russia has officially annexed the region. Ukraine officially pulled their military out of the region [9] after they were trapped and virtually imprisoned for several weeks.