Police Open Investigation Into Possible Anti-Roma Hate Crime in Kyiv
4 May, 2020

A Roma family was subjected to an attack by unknown persons in Kyiv, resulting in Kyiv police opening criminal proceedings.

This was reported by the press center of the National Police.

The case will be undergoing investigations under likely charges of "violation of equality of citizens based on their race, nationality, religious beliefs, disability and on other grounds combined with violence". The suspects will face a fine of 500 to 1000 non-taxable minimums ($318-635) or imprisonment for a term of two to five years.

According to Hromadske Radio, citing Vita Zinevych, a volunteer and a member of the Community of Sant’Egidio, a tent belonging to a Roma family was burnt down at about 5:00 a.m. on April 29, whilst the family was beaten and insulted.

After arriving from Zakarpattya on April 30, the Roma family (Ruslan, his pregnant wife Anzhela, Ruslan’s mother and her husband) saw scorched ruins at the tent site.

The attackers burst into the tent and sprayed tear gas from cans, then beat the husband and insulted his pregnant wife.

"They jumped out of the tent. Anzhela (who is barely 25 years old) said that they started beating her husband with a fence board. When she tried to tell her attackers that she was pregnant, they started cursing and saying people like her should be raped,” the volunteer said.

The family’s documents and phones were burnt along with the tent, and barely anything was recovered. The family has now moved to a different location.

This attack comes a week after the mayor of the western Ukrainian city of Ivano-Frankivsk, Ruslan Martsinkiv, issued an order to expel another group of Roma people from the city to the Zakarpattya region on April 22. The head of the city announced this at a weekly operational meeting, and repeatedly used statements that had signs of hate speech and could provoke ethnic hatred against the Roma national ethnic group. During that meeting, it was revealed that 10 Roma had already been taken out of the city and 12 had refused to leave.

READ MORE: Ukrainian Mayor Apologizes After Calling for Roma Expulsion

The Coalition of Roma NGOs in Ukraine, which advocate for the protection of the rights of the Roma minority in Ukraine, appealed to Ivano-Frankivsk state authorities and local self-government bodies and personally to the mayor Martsinkiv because of his anti-Roma sentiment.

After that, the police opened a criminal case under Art. 161 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine – violation of equality of citizens based on their race, nationality, religious beliefs, disability and other grounds.