In August 2015 four National Guard fighters were killed by a ball grenade thrown from protesting crowd
Ukraine marks the first anniversary of the tragedy of August 31st, 2015. A year ago four members of Ukrainian National Guard were killed in front of the parliament building of Verkhovna Rada by a ball grenade.
A year ago several hundreds of activists came to Verkhovna Rada to show their discontent with the Constitutional changes being adopted at that moment. Ukrainian deputies were voting for the decentralisation and special administrative status for the Donbas region. Security officers from the police and National Guard attempted to move the demonstration away from the parliament building when all of a sudden the demonstrators started throwing smoke pellets. Several servicemen have been wounded.
In total mayhem and near zero visibility with thick smoke, someone threw a ball grenade. One of the National Guard fighters died immediately, three more died in the hospital.
Two members of the battalion "Sich", Ihor Gumeniuk and Serhiy Krayniak, have been charged with terrorism and homicide. Police claim Gumeniuk threw the grenade, his companion allegedly assisted him. Neither of the suspected admits his guilt.
Ihor Gumeniuk, suspected in the attack: The video record shows there was an unknown masked person throwing something in the crowd. If you take a close look at that video footage, it is virtually impossible to detect who was in the crowd, or who threw this grenade. They started detaining everyone. In my opinion, it was a planned action. They were just trying to draw away the overall attention from what was going on in the parliament.
The investigators claim they disposed of numerous pieces of evidence proving the guilt of these two men. Apart from the video record, numerous eyewitness testimonies and expertises have been taken into account as well. Despite confident allegations of the police officers, relatives of the killed soldiers do not believe justice would ever be obtained.
Kateryna Zakharchenko, mother of Oleksandr Kostryna: We do not know anything yet. No one has given us a single paper of the criminal case concerning the death of my son. I cannot say who is guilty. Politics is guilty.
All four victims - Ihor Derbin, Dmytro Slastnikov, Oleksandr Kostryna, and Bogdan Datsiuk - were serving in the National Guard of Ukraine. Now their portraits are set in front of the parliament building, covered with flowers and mourning ribbons.