Kyiv, February 19, 2016. Fifty three persons who disappeared during Maidan events are still missing. As of end of 2015 – beginning of 2016 the total number of missing persons was 60. “We’ve managed to find seven of them only this year. Unfortunately three of them are dead, causes of death of two of them have not been identified. Three are alive and well. One was killed in ATO,” said Tetyana Slobodyan, coordinator of the Maidan Search Initiative at a press briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center. She also said that 1012 requests were received by the initiative between February 19, 2014 and February 18, 2016. They pertained to the persons who went missing during Maidan events. Majority of the requests submitted by that time were processed in April 2014, 97 persons were found, 17 of them were dead, six of whom are Heaven’s Hundred heroes, reports the Maidan Search Initiative.
Taras Matviyiv, coordinator of the Maidan Search Initiative said that at first volunteers were physically searching for missing persons, later they expanded their activities to legal area. “With our search group we covered a total of 100 m2 between February and May 2014. We succeeded to check about 100 various objects including water reservoirs. We were diving with the divers, followed the diggers in underground tunnels under the palace in Maryinsky park etc.,” said Matviyiv.
“We know that only four criminal cases have been filed, four pre-trial investigation cases are on [as to the missing persons – UCMC]. That is the information from the National Police of Ukraine. It is quite strange,” said Nadiya Druhova, coordinator of the Maidan Search Initiative. She also emphasized that criminal cases pertaining to the many missing have been closed. “The case of the missing Maidan activist Yuliya Bilousova is quite a particular one. She went missing on February 25, 2014 and is still missing. However responding to the request the National Police stated that the criminal case was filed before Euromaidan began and that she was found on July 27, 2013,” said Druhova. Another example that raises volunteers’ concerns is the case of Euromaidan activists Vashuk and Bondarets who went missing in March and are now on the temporary occupied territory. However Druhova says criminal case was started only for Vashuk’s case. There were also cases when criminal cases pertaining to the persons who went missing during Euromaidan events were united into one case and closed down afterwards, noted the coordinator of the Maidan Search Initiative calling it nonsense.
Druhova assumed that there is so little information on the persons who went missing during the Maidan events because respective data was destroyed. “There is a legend that was later confirmed by facts and documents that after Yanukovych fled in 2014 resolution was adopted to destroy the entire database of evidence on Euromaidan activists who went missing at that time or were illegally convicted,” noted coordinator of the Maidan Search Initiative. Volunteers have lodged a number of information requests to MPs and hope to get answered.
Iryna Savchenko, mother of Maidan activist Serhiy Novitsky, said that her son went missing in February 2014. She was not aware that he was taking part in Euromaidan until she got informed by the people who new Serhiy and saw him there. She said she was not able to reach the authorities, she gets refuses in assistance, it’s only the volunteers who help her conduct the search. “I got a pile of documents. But they know and do nothing,” said Savchenko.