Former 'Berkut' officer abuses kidnapped Ukrainian children

27 March, 12:18 PM
A former member of Berkut special police Valeriy Atakhov (Photo:THE INSIDER)

A former member of Berkut special police Valeriy Atakhov (Photo:THE INSIDER)

A former member of Ukraine’s disgraced and dissolved Berkut special police, Valeriy Atakhov, abused abducted Ukrainian children in Crimea, Russian independent magazine the Insider claimed on March 26 after conducting a special investigation.

The magazine identified Atakhov as the person who threatened and beat Ukrainian children that were illegally taken to so-called "educational" facilities.

Atakhov was among the forces used to violently disperse protests during the Revolution of Dignity in 2013-14.

The Insider's journalists spoke with 17 children, who were recently returned to Ukraine, and with their parents. The children were beaten, threatened, and forced to stay in a cellar, 16-year-old Vitaliy said.

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Vitaliy identified Astakhov by photo as their abuser.

Astakhov had already abducted Ukrainian children from Slovyansk to Russia's Rostov Oblast in 2014.

In the Druzhba (the name means friendship) children’s sanatorium and health-recreation center in Yevpatoria, Astakhov took children to a cellar, showed them a stick, and threatened to beat them for supporting Ukraine, Vitaliy said. He added that a girl from Kherson was hit and suffered a bruise.

"He said: 'I'll lock you in the basement, you'll sit there, and obey me,'" Vitaliy said of Astakhov.

There were no bedclothes in the camp, the boy said, only bare mattresses and pillows.

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