All news

Member of Rada’s commission withdraws signature under report on probe into Odessa tragedy

ODESSA, September 10. /ITAR-TASS/. Svetlana Fabrikant, a member of the Ukrainian parliament and secretary of the parliamentary commission probing into the massacre in Odessa on May 2, 2014 and into other episodes of violence in other Ukrainian cities, on Tuesday withdrew her signature under the commission’s report, saying it had been falsified.

“Regrettably, other members of the commission made some adjustments to the document after I had signed it,” she said. “After the document was published on the official website of the parliament, I found my signature under a different document and I cannot agree with it.”

Earlier on Tuesday, Odessa-based mass media published the original document that differed from the one posted on the parliament’s website. Journalists noted that a number of important episodes were absent from website edition of the report. Thus, it omitted witnesses’ evidence proving the involvement of Andrei Paruby, the secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defence Council, in the organization of the Odessa massacre. Paruby, chief of Ukraine’s Security Council Valentin Nalivaichenko and Interior Minister Arsen Avakov refused to talk with the commission’s members. The report, according to the media, lacked evidence of numerous witnesses about involvement in the riots of about 500 radicals of the Kiev’ Maidan who had been accommodated in Odessa with the help of the region’s governor, Vladimir Nemirovsky.

The final report did not mention the names of the leader of the Odessa branch of the Udar party, Andrei Yusov and other local “maidan” leaders, who instigated radical nationalists to set ablaze a tent camp of pro-federalism activists and the House of Trade Unions.

“Key participants in those developments had never showed up at the commission’s sessions. The reluctance of officials to provide explanations to the commission is an eloquent answer. What kind of openness and joint work can we speak about?” she said, adding that the authorities were apparently seeking to drop the investigation of the Odessa tragedy.

Last week, rallies were held in Odessa demanding punishment to those involved in the Odessa massacre. People were indignant that Ukrainian investigators had put the blame for the bloody riots on people who were burnt alive in the House of Trade Unions by Right Sector and Maidan Self-defence radicals. Participants in rallies demanded that unbiased foreign experts be engaged to carry out the investigation.

“The Ukrainian authorities are seeking to drag out the investigation. Those who were behind the tragedy have not yet been named,” Nikolai Skorik, former governor of the Odessa regions and a member of the investigation commission, told journalists.

Unrest in the southern Ukrainian port city of Odessa started on May 2, when football fans from the east Ukrainian city of Kharkov marched along city streets with Right Sector radicals and supporters from Kiev's Maidan Self-Defence Force. Clashes broke out between them and activists seeking a referendum on the issue of Ukrainian federalisation and Russian's official status as a state language. At least 48 people died and more than 200 were injured in clashes in Odessa after radicals set ablaze the regional House of Trade Unions, where pro-federalisation activists had taken refuge, and a tent camp near it where they had been collecting signatures in support of the referendum.

Maidan is the name for downtown Kiev's Independence Square, which is the symbol of Ukrainian protests. The words “Maidan” and “Euromaidan” are used as a collective name for anti-government protests in Ukraine that started when President Viktor Yanukovich refused to sign an association agreement with the European Union last year to study the deal more thoroughly.