Tax police fire on workers in Berdyansk

A YouTube video shows Ukrainian tax police firing gunshots using rubber bullets during a confrontation with workers from Berdyansk’s Raiagropromsnab [commerical agricultural depot] on Sept. 24. The six-minute clip contradicts the official version that the workers fired first on police, precipitating the conflict. At least four workers were wounded, two seriously enough to be hospitalized, and no police officers were reportedly injured.

The incident occurred on Sept. 24 as plant employees arrived at work.

“No one prevented tax officials from entering the grounds of the enteprise,” Raiagropromsnab representative Elena Nikitina told the information agency Interfax-Ukraine.

“Enterprise executives attempted only to unblock the work of the enterprises not mentioned in the search order [of the tax authorities] and let workers enter the premises to go to work. The complex where the conflict took place is located on a 12-hectare plot occupied by some 20 enterprises. Tax agents fired on workers attempting to gain entry to the plant. Four workers were injured. Shots were fired only by the tax police agents,” Nikitina said.

Of the two wounded and hospitalized, “one worker was admitted on Saturday,” a doctor said. “He was shot in the nose and needs an operation.”

Mykola Volchenko, a wounded worker, gave this account: “We came to work on Friday [Sept. 24], and they did not let us in. They weren’t dressed like riot police, but they behaved rudely. When we said, ‘Exuse us, let us pass,’ they responded, ‘Don’t move! Lie down! They shot three holes in me. What is this? They shot at [me] the biggest person.”

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