Ukrainian officials investigated for student beatings

Posted on: 6:21 pm, December 14, 2013, by , updated on: 06:16pm, December 14, 2013

Ukrainian officials investigated for student beatings

(CNN) — Ukrainian prosecutors are investigating some top government officials regarding the beating of students at anti-government protests two weeks ago.

The subjects of the criminal investigation include Ukrainian Deputy Secretary for National Security Vladimir Sivkovich, Kiev Police Chief Valery Koryak and Kiev Mayor Oleksandr Popov. A fourth person is also under investigation.

The case will be put before a judge on Monday, who could order the those being investigated to house arrest, said Valery Vilkova, spokeswoman for the general prosecutor.

The tumult in Ukraine goes to the heart of its future ties with Russia and the rest of Europe.

Protests have unfolded in Ukraine since November 21 after President Viktor Yanukovych changed his stance on a trade pact with the European Union that had been years in the making.

He refused to sign the agreement, which would have strengthened cooperation with the European Union. Instead, he opted for closer ties with neighboring Russia.

Hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians have taken to the streets of Kiev to demand that the EU deal be signed.

The demonstrations are the biggest the country has seen since the Orange Revolution that toppled the country’s government nine years ago.

The epicenter of the protest has been in the city’s central Maidan Square.

Nearby, a pro-government rally was held Saturday in European Square, according to the state news agency Ukrinform. Kiev police estimated about 57,000 people participated in the demonstration. Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov spoke at the gathering.

By Nick Paton Walsh