Hunting down journalists
27 February, 2014
Hunting down journalists
Georgian rally participants from Kiev

Now in Ukraine it’s time for grief and a truce. Peace is being established in the streets of Kiev, but as the locals say there is still the smell of war. We contacted Georgians living in Ukraine who witnessed the tragedy in Kiev.
Sandra Glurjidze, a Georgian, resident of Kiev: - The people are in panic; psychosis caused by fear reigns everywhere. I live on Solomenskaya Square, near the Military Academy and military unit. The
situation is the hardest. Money vanished from cash machines, shops and gas stations don’t accept cards, they take only cash. People are closing their accounts in banks and withdrawing their money. Air ticket prices increased threefold; even the taxi fare increased from $20 to $100. Probably soon there will be no products in the shops because people are hysterically buying and storing everything.
I didn’t want to do the same, trying to pull myself together in the supermarket - but it seems such situations are infectious. I felt so bad myself that I called my brother and asked him to take me out. Then both of us filled the trunk with the foodstuff. We looked at it and asked each other: ‘What do we need so much food for?’ But we kept adding to it because we didn’t know what tomorrow would bring. The militia is constantly patrolling every district; the rally participants as well as provocateurs are walking in groups, always creating a threat. Kiev is on a hairbreadth’s balance.
On February 19 when they opened fire I was there watching everything, stunned. The snipers were on the roof of the Trade Union building shooting at people. Armored personal carriers (APCs) entered the city too. The bandits dressed in sportswear, the so-called ‘titushki’ - whom Yanukovich is paying money - positioned themselves behind the ‘Berkut’ riot police and threw grenades at people. The rally participants thought that ‘Berkut’ assaulted them, and in return they attacked with Molotov cocktails. At that time the ‘titushki’ changed their position and began shooting at ‘Berkut’ from behind the rally participants, in order to provoke an assault. They set on fire the busses that brought the militia from other cities, and the Trade Union building. They shot at APCs too. One or two men couldn’t manage this; obviously it was a big group and they were paid a lot of money.
While my brother was taking me out to a safer place, we heard grenades exploding behind us; killed and wounded people were scattered in the streets at every turn. For now the situation seems calm but we feel that the truce is temporary. Unfortunately the situation is becoming so tense that the threat of confrontation seems real… People have much weaponry. Several days before the shooting began, journalists, my acquaintances who were in the epicenter of events, told me that something bad was going to happen because the rally participants were armed.
It’s very dangerous to go out at night, the ‘titushki’ are crashing cars, raiding people, entering clubs and hotels, and by aggressive shouts and violence sowing panic. They especially hunt the journalists and don’t spare them. Don’t watch Russian news; they are airing lies.
Tornike Logua, a Georgian living in Kiev: - We were inside the Trade Union building when law enforcers rushed in and opened fire.
Many people were asphyxiated by smoke…People say that they also used chemicals that made people faint… Then they attacked, beating mercilessly. People, including me, opposed them as long as we could, but then I realized that I was losing consciousness and two of my friends dragged me out.
They beat us when we were leaving the building…Then me and my Ukrainian friends managed to take out a wounded man. He was about 60 years old. For the first time I saw a man’s death. I was holding his hand; then suddenly he became cold with his eyes still open. They didn’t spare even those who were severely beaten, unable to move. When the building was set on fire there were lots of activists. Some of them couldn’t manage to go out and they were burnt inside. Some were taken to hospital…
Q. – Are you planning to return to Georgia?
A. – I left my house in Sokhumi. I am Georgian but Ukraine is my homeland also.
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