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Ukraine’s Ex-Justice Minister Detained In Probe Of Maidan Killings


Former Justice Minister Olena Lukash

Ukraine's Security Service says former Justice Minister Olena Lukash has been detained in connection with an investigation into deadly shootings during opposition protests in 2014 that brought down the pro-Russian government of then-President Viktor Yanukovych.

Lukash was detained in Kyiv upon returning from Russia.

More than a hundred people were killed on and around Kyiv’s central Independence Square -- known as the Maidan -- by sniper fire from February 18-20, 2014.

An ongoing Ukrainian investigation has not yet identified who was behind the attacks.

The Ukrainian Security Service said on November 5 that Lukash, the country's justice minister at the time, has been taken into custody and that a court will soon determine whether charges will be filed against her.

Prosecutor Vladislav Kutsenko told reporters in Kyiv on November 5 that procedures to officially charge Lukash are under way.

Lukash said in a video that was shown at a news briefing by Ukraine’s Security Service that she was going to the Prosecutor-General’s Office “together with counterintelligence officers to provide testimony.”

She said she was not under pressure and that her visit to the prosecutor’s office was “a routine conversation with counterintelligence officers” to “provide testimony voluntarily.”

On February 28, Ukraine's prosecutor-general requested that the Interior Ministry and Ukrainian Security Services arrest Lukash on suspicion of involvement in masterminding the shooting of antigovernment protesters.

The EU and Canada included Lukash in March last year on a list of Ukrainian and Russian officials subjected to financial sanctions.

In May, the Prosecutor-General's Office charged Lukash in absentia with public funds mismanagement, forgery, and abuse of office.

The deaths in and around the Maidan came at the end of monthslong opposition protests that prompted Yanukovych to flee Ukraine in late February.

Lukash served as Ukraine's justice minister in 2013 and early 2014.

She was dismissed on February 27, 2014, days after Yanukovych was toppled from power and fled to Russia.

With reporting by AP, Interfax, and UNIAN
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