13.02.2014 Viktor Ostafeychuk
Translated by Viktor Ostafeychuk
Edited by Maria Stanislav
Reports, eyewitness accounts, photographic and video evidence of the riot police violence against medical volunteers
Oleh Musiy, Coordinator of Euromaidan Medical Service Team, interviewed by journalist Dmitry Tuzov:
What is the current situation with the wounded and the dead?
The situation is difficult, because the wounded ask not to be taken to public health care facilities. They refuse hospitalization because in state hospitals, the authorities are blatantly interfering with the work of the medics. Injured people who need medical attention are being interrogated. Even worse, unidentified people are kidnapping the wounded. This is why volunteer medical aid facilities, including surgical care, have been set up in the Trade Union House, in the KMDA [Kyiv City Hall] and the Zhovtnevy Palace.
What about the dead?
Our medical service reported four protestor deaths. This number can still be higher. There was a medical post located outside Hrushevskiy street. Two people killed by gunshot wounds were brought there about 6 am and 8 am. One was wounded in the neck and chest and another was shot directly in the heart. The first one had already been identified, the second not yet [later, they were identified as Serhiy Nihoyan and Mykhailo Zhyznevsky]. State forensic experts and the police came and took their bodies to the forensic station to do an autopsy. Just an hour later, the medical aid station in Hrushevskiy street was under attack. Thank God, the doctors had time to leave the station. The attack happened while our mobile medical teams were bringing in two heavily wounded gunshot victims with few signs of life. Unfortunately, the medical volunteers had to leave the wounded in order to save their own lives. The wounded men were unconscious and they were left on the battlefield occupied by the Berkut. On some Ustreams, you can see the Berkut officer dragging the unconscious bodies outside the perimeter and to their side.
Are there any wounded medical volunteers?
Today, a few were shell-shocked by stun grenades, no bullet wounds. But yesterday, and the day before, we had three doctors wounded by rubber bullets. We also witnessed a horrific display, a blatant violation of the Geneva Convention. A medical volunteer, wearing clothing and a hardhat with a large red cross on them, was taking care of the injured, with his back turned to the Berkut. The Berkut officers shot at him three times, straight into the Red Cross on his back. We can only thank God those were rubber bullets.
Another doctor wearing a white helmet and Red Cross T-shirt took a rubber bullet to the nose. He had a broken nose and huge bruise around his eyes.
In yet another case, a medical volunteer went to give medical aid to an injured Berkut officer. By the time the medic approached the officer, who lay on the ground writhing in pain, there was no one around for 20 meters. And yet, two grenades were flung at him. The first grenade exploded at his feet, the second blew up above him and damaged his face and hands. That was the gratitude for trying to give medical aid to the Berkut.
All these cases are doctors from our medical service, who suffered violence at the hands of the Berkut.
[Watch the whole interview below (Ukrainian):]
Here, you can see some photographic and video evidence of the medical post at 4 Hrushevskiy street after it was trashed by the Berkut.
Eyewitnesses said that the Berkut officers took the Red Cross flag with them, saying it was their trophy…
[Video by Channel 5, http://5.ua ]
Eyewitness at 0:34: When they broke in, I couldn’t understand what was happening. I just heard explosions, saw the gas, and then they yelled and came bursting in.
Yevhen Nayshtetyk, Vice-President of the Ukrainian National Council for Patients’ Rights and Safety:
In the last couple of days we’ve received information about more than 20 people who work for the Red Cross being beaten up by the Berkut [riot police]. Medical volunteers are constantly being attacked with traumatic and gas weapons. Now they have to wear body armor and carry shields. Different sources say that more than 500 qualified medical workers are helping out in medical volunteer squads and in the Maidan medical service. More than a third of them reported different injuries they received from the security forces.
Journalist Volodymyr Tyschenko filmed part of the Berkut attack, the medical station after its destruction, and talked to one of the medical volunteers:
[Video in Ukrainian:]
“Medical workers had to escape, leaving all medical supplies and drugs behind. When the Berkut officer walked into the building, he shot at one of the volunteers who was trying to help one of the patients out. The officer fired in spite of the fact that the medical volunteer wore a red vest with the Red Cross symbol and showed his ID. The injured volunteer told us he was shot on purpose: ‘At first, he was aiming at my face, then lowered his weapon and shot my leg. Of course, later on they can say it was an accident. But he was looking me right in the eye. It was done on purpose’. The volunteer commented that the Berkut doesn’t care about the humanitarian and protective mission of the Red Cross and considers everyone to be a criminal – whether you are a medical worker, a journalist, or an ordinary person.”
In the picture on the right, and in the video below, you can see the Berkut officers aiming and shooting at a Red Cross volunteer during the confrontation at Hrushevskiy street. The medic repeatedly announced his status and showed his documents, but the officer shot him in the leg regardless.
The Story of Oleksiy Tutov, Medical Volunteer
The white-clad man featured in these photographs made by LB.UA, is Oleksiy Tutov, a medical volunteer. We can see a riot police officer pointing his rifle at the medic. He didn’t take the shot, though, because the next moment, another protester threw a rock at him. The Berkut officer ran after the attacker, leaving the medic to kneel in the snow.
Oleksiy wasn’t left alone for good, though – in the video by RT TV Channel, we can see him being abused and detained (1:05 – 1:54):
Oleksiy Tutov, from Kerch (Crimea), became the first medic taken prisoner by the Berkut. This 26 -year-old volunteer endured injuries while providing medical assistance to victims during the clashes on January, 22. He risked his life by coming under fire from bullets, explosions and rocks.
Dr. Olga Bohomolets, coordinator of the Euromaidan Medical Service Team:
“During military action, the world practice is to avoid sending doctors under the bullets, because the doctors are busy stitching up the wounds. However, volunteers are the people who have not graduated from college or even high school, but who only received a special training. They are the people who go under bullets and risk their lives to drag the wounded away from the action.”
Oleksiy Tiutov was one of such volunteers. In the exclusive video filmed by the TV team “Znak Oklyku!” [Exclamation Mark!], we can see irrefutable proof that Oleksiy is a volunteer for a medical team and not a member of the riots. Nevertheless, his white t-shirt with a red cross was ignored by the riot police, who detained and beat him.
[Video with English subtitles:]
[More photographs of Oleksiy’s arrest:]