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KIEV, February 24, 21:19 /ITAR-TASS/. ss) - Some 50 people will be charged with involvement in murders during protest rallies in Kiev, a senior parliamentary official said in parliament Monday.
Oleg Makhnitsky, the Verkhovna Rada’s representative for Prosecutor General’s Office affairs, said investigation had been launched on “cases of premeditated aggravated murder of 74 Ukrainian nationals committed in Kiev during protest actions in the center of the capital.”
Ukraine has been hit by anti-government protests, which often turned violent, since November 2013. A new wave of riots started February 18 and eventually caused President Viktor Yanukovich to flee his residence outside Kiev. Ukraine’s unicameral parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, took over and appointed an acting president, also setting early elections.
Yanukovich called the developments "a coup d’etat." His current whereabouts are unknown.
According to the latest data from the Ukrainian Health Ministry, 82 people have been killed and 678 turned to the Ukrainian capital’s medical institutions for help, with 449 of them hospitalized, since the start of the latest violence on February 18.
It was not immediately clear why the death toll figure provided by Health Ministry and the number of murders voiced by Makhnitsky differed.
“An investigative group comprising special investigators of the Ukrainian Prosecutor General’s Office’s Main Investigative Department, as well as investigators from territorial prosecutor’s offices - overall, 44 people - has been established to conduct prejudicial inquiry,” Makhnitsky said.
In order to establish eyewitnesses of murders and suspected killers, video recordings from surveillance cameras in downtown Kiev are being examined, he said.