On February 20, 2014, around a hundred Maidan protesters were killed right in the heart of Ukraine’s capital by Berkut riot police and snipers from the Alfa, Omega and Sokil special police units.
Coming after the bloody events of February 18 in Kyiv, when some 30 activists were killed, the protestors were pushed back to the Maidan, where they formed the last line of resistance.
The few thousand activists there at the time were surrounded by more than 10,000 armed and well-equipped police.
Early in the morning on February 20, a few fresh groups of activists from western Ukraine whose rotation on the Maidan self defense roster had come up attempted to push back the police encirclement further up vul. Institutska and burn one of the tire barricades to protect the Maidan from sniper fire.
Right after that, the activists faced riot police fire from the other side of the barricades and sniper fire from the rooftops and upper floors of a few administrative and government buildings.
The special riot units were apparently following orders from their commanders.