A day of bloodshed on Kiev's main square, nearly a year ago, marked the end of a winter of protest against the government of president Viktor Yanukovych, who soon afterwards fled the country. More than 50 protesters and three policemen died. But how did the shooting begin? Protest organisers have always denied any involvement - but one man told the BBC a different story....
"I was shooting downwards at their feet," says a man we will call Sergei, who tells me he took up position in the Kiev Conservatory, a music academy on the south-west corner of the square.
"Of course, I could have hit them in the arm or anywhere. But I didn't shoot to kill."
Sergei says he had been a regular protester on the Maidan for more than a month, and that his shots at police on the square and on the roof of an underground shopping mall, caused them to retreat.
There had been shooting two days earlier, on 18 February. The 19th, a Wednesday, had been quieter, but in the evening, Sergei says, he was put in contact with a man who offered him two guns: one a 12-gauge shotgun, the other a hunting rifle, a Saiga that fired high-velocity rounds.
He chose the latter, he says, and stashed it in the Post Office building, a few yards from the Conservatory. Both buildings were under the control of the protesters....
...When the shooting started early on the morning of the 20th, Sergei says, he was escorted to the Conservatory, and spent some 20 minutes before 07:00 firing on police, alongside a second gunman.
His account is partially corroborated by other witnesses. That morning, Andriy Shevchenko, then an opposition MP and part of the Maidan movement, had received a phone call from the head of the riot police on the square.
"He calls me and says, 'Andriy, somebody is shooting at my guys.' And he said that the shooting was from the Conservatory."
Shevchenko contacted the man in charge of security for the protesters, Andriy Parubiy, known as the Commandant of the Maidan.
"I sent a group of my best men to go through the entire Conservatory building and determine whether there were any firing positions," Parubiy says.
Meanwhile the MP, Andriy Shevchenko, was getting increasingly panicked phone calls.
"I kept getting calls from the police officer, who said: 'I have three people wounded, I have five people wounded, I have one person dead.' And at some point he says, 'I am pulling out.' And he says, 'Andriy I do not know what will be next.' But I clearly felt that something really bad was about to happen."
Andriy Parubiy, now deputy speaker of the Ukrainian parliament, says his men found no gunmen in the Conservatory building.
But a photographer who gained access to the Conservatory later in the morning - shortly after 08:00 - took pictures there of men with guns, although he did not see them fire....
...Sergei's account also differs from Parubiy's.
"I was just reloading," he told me. "They ran up to me and one put his foot on top of me, and said, 'They want a word with you, everything is OK, but stop doing what you're doing.'"
Sergei says he is convinced the men who dragged him away were from Parubiy's security unit, though he didn't recognise their faces. He was escorted out of the Conservatory building, taken out of Kiev by car, and left to make his own way home.
By that time three policemen had been fatally wounded and the mass killings of protesters had begun....
...Parubiy says it is possible that a handful of protesters with weapons may have come to the Maidan as part of a spontaneous, unorganised response to violence from the security forces in the days running up to 20 February.
"I did hear that, after the shootings on 18 February, there were guys who came to Maidan with hunting rifles. I was told that sometimes they were the relatives or parents of those people who were killed on the 18th. So I concede that it's possible there were people with hunting rifles on Maidan. When the snipers began to kill our guys, one after another, I can imagine that those with the hunting rifles returned fire."
Sergei, again, tells a different story. He says he was recruited as a potential shooter in late-January, by a man he describes only as a retired military officer. Sergei himself was a former soldier.
"We got chatting, and he took me under his wing. He saw something in me that he liked. Officers are like psychologists, they can see who is capable. He kept me close."
The former officer dissuaded him from joining any of the more militant groups active on the Maidan.
"'Your time will come,' he said."...
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