Seventeen protesters have been detained amid clashes with police on Bankova Street in Kyiv during a rally against activist Serhiy Sternenko's imprisonment.
Criminal proceedings have been launched into the incident, the Kyiv police's media liaison office said on Facebook on February 23.
"The police instantly react to all attempts attempted provocations and clashes. During the clashes, protesters used pepper spray and threw flares at law enforcement officers. As a result, 17 active participants who violated law and order were taken to the police department," it said.
Kyiv investigators launched criminal proceedings under Article 342 (Resistance to a member of a law enforcement agency) of the Criminal Code of Ukraine.
The Kyiv police said in an update that all the detainees had been interrogated and released.
According to the police, 27 officers received injuries, including eye burns, during the riots.
They estimate over 2,000 people took part in the rally.
Odesa's Prymorsky District Court on February 23, 2021, passed a guilty verdict in the case of activist Serhiy Sternenko, who has been convicted of abduction. The ruling provides for seven years and three months in prison and confiscation of half of the convict's property.
Sternenko was found guilty of committing criminal offenses under Part 2 of Article 146 (Unlawful imprisonment or kidnapping), Part 2 of Article 187 (Robbery) and Part 1 of Article 263 (Illegal handling of weapons, ammunition or explosives) of the Criminal Code of Ukraine. The punishment was imposed under Article 187 and Article 263, as the term for criminal prosecution under Article 146 has already expired.
Hundreds of people took to the streets in Kyiv in protest against Sternenko's imprisonment on February 23.
- In 2015, Sternenko's house in the city of Odesa was searched. The activist voluntarily handed to law enforcers his air gun, a collectible knife, and a noise pistol.
- Investigative actions were carried out on citizen Serhiy Shcherbych's report of his alleged abduction. Shcherbych alleged Sternenko wanted to steal UAH 300 (about US$11 at the current forex rate).
- After the raid, Sternenko was served with charge papers and put in custody before being bailed out.
- Later, the activist was also accused of illegal possession of weapons.
- Several criminal cases have been brought up against Sternenko, including homicide charges over the death of Ivan Kuznetsov, a person identified as one of the attackers who assaulted Sternenko in 2018 in what Sternenko believes were attempts on his life.