On the 12th of April De frivilliga were travelling together with C14, Never Again and Ultras from Dynamo Kyiv to the march of Єdnosti, the march of Єdnosti is a peaceful demonstration for a united Ukraine held in the Kharkiv area. But the trip to Kharkiv ended badly for all of us, Berkut and Avakov had decided to stop us once and for all.
After two hours we reached the first police checkpoint and all was ok and we where allowed to continue our travel since, a couple of hours later we all reached the city of Poltava, famous for the defeat of King Karl XII, nothing out of the ordinary was seen until, we reached another police checkpoint, at that checkpoint we could see hundreds of policemen, armoured vehicles and mobile prisons. At first we didn’t think much about it since the first police passed us by, but the second police pulled us over and that was when all hell broke lose.
30 men all dressed in black using balaclavas and all carrying AK47 were running toward us from their hiding spots and the police who have been pulling us over were running for his life into safety. We could see how the windows in the minivan ahead of us where smashed and the men dressed in black were dragging our friends out of the car, all during weapons were pointed at them. Now we realized that something was very wrong and suddenly the door to our minivan was opened and 20 men dressed in black were screaming and pointing their AK47:s at us. All of us were taken out of the minivan during beatings and a lot of shouting in Russian, once out of the van and on the ground the beating continued.
Our faces were pinned to ground at first, since the men all dressed in black was standing on our backs and in some cases they where standing with one foot on our heads pressing it in the ground. While we were lying on the ground some of them started to “explain” the situation, those who didn’t understand got a translation from their boots. The men all dressed in black were recognized as “Falcon” even thou some of them were using old Berkut uniforms. The men was very clear about that we all would die for what we had done during the Maidan, next thing we are told is that we are Ukrainian terrorists who will be shoot and left for dead in the ditch. All of this during a lot of kicking and punching. Searching us for weapons wasn’t so important at first, and not later either because the police was to busy searching for valuables such as cellphones and money.
One of our friends Sergiy Bondar was exceptionally badly beaten because he dared to tell the Berkuts to stop. They lunged at him like a pack of wild dogs, screaming in rage and kicked him in his head, those who couldn’t reach him with their feet used the rifle stock to hit his face. It later turned out that the Berkuts wanted to kill him but one of the officer stopped the beating just in time, at this moment Sergiy is still at the hospital for his severe facial damage.
They lunged at him like a pack of wild dogs, screaming in rage.
Markiyan – aktivist from C14
Oleksander, co-founder of the center De frivilliga tells us that he never thought it was policemen at first because the police shouldnt be allowed to act as criminals, his thought were that the men dressed in black and later identified as ex Berkut and elite police “Falcon” actually were Russian separatists who were sent there to kill us.
When all of us were beaten and robbed of our valuables, the beating suddenly stopped and we where taken to another place a couple hundreds of meter away, there we where once again thrown into the ground and some of us got more beatings but not nearly as much as we got from the “Falcon” elite police. What ever valuables we had left these policemen stole from us, but it wasn’t much since the other bastards had already stolen most of our things, the Poltava police had to settle with our belts and empty wallets. Then suddenly everything goes quickly, all the interrogations stop and we are thrown into the mobile jails, during very little violence to our surprise. In the mobile jail we all got some time to breath even thou it was very crowded in the cell, one cell which was meant for one prisoner was instead holding three prisoners. One guy who is still unknown to us, asked the police from Poltava district – “Where are we going?” The young policeman looked into the mobile jail with sad eyes and answered -“I dont know, but I hope you dont get taken to Kharkiv, because you will all die there.” He then took a look at us with his sad eyes, sighed and walked away.
I dont know, but I hope you dont get taken to Kharkiv, because you will all die there.
Young police – Poltava police
For 5 hours none of us know what would happen to us, would they drive us to Kharkiv to murder us? The 2 hour drive in the mobile jail was a mental torture for all of us, even thou we tried to keep our mood up with laughter, but they were all fake and you could almost touch the air in there. The mobile jail stopped and all of us were taken out of it with some rough methods but it was all worth it, because we could now see that we where in Poltava and there was also our friends. We could see our friends alive even thou they had some bad bruises and there we could see a bus waiting for us – our ticket to freedom! The trip to Kyiv was probably one of the best trip we ever had, even thou many of us were beaten we all smiled at each other and out of the blue we all started to sing the Ukrainian national anthem. And from that point we all knew that it would end good.
All together 50 of us got beaten and robbed by the so called elite police “Falcon” and former Berkut, 4 of us had to stay several days in the hospital and 1 of our friends is still in the hospital. For those crimes committed against us and against the freedom of Ukraine we have decided to legally fight Avakov and the corrupted police. Our fight against Avakov and his corrupted police started once we got to the hospital and have not yet ended, so far we have won a small victory when the department of internal affairs admitted that they had acted wrongly against us. But that is not enough, this time Avakov and the police must stand trail for their crimes – This ends now!
Will Avakov take responsibility for broken ribs, broken knees and faces of our friends, we dont think so, but we will never forget it and we will never forgive him.
Mikael – Co-founder of the center De frivilliga