Ukraine Axes Berkut Riot Police Unit Accused of Killings

Image: "Berkut" members in the eastern city of Donetsk on Feb. 23
The Ukranian riot police unit "Berkut" stand by during rallies by anti and pro-Yanukovich supporters in the eastern city of Donetsk, February 23, 2014. Ukraine's new rulers, just 24 hours after ousting President Viktor Yanukovich, began speedily to unstitch his power structure on Sunday, appointing a provisional leader to replace him and sacking his key ministers. REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko (UKRAINE - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST)VASILY FEDOSENKO / Reuters

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A feared riot police force that many accuse of attacks on anti-government protesters has been disbanded, Ukraine's new interior minister announced Wednesday.

Arsen Avakov wrote on his Facebook page that he has signed a decree to disband the force known as Berkut.

Anti-government protesters have blamed Berkut for violent attacks against a peaceful demonstrators protesting ousted President Viktor Yanukovych's decision to ditch closer ties with the European Union and turn to Moscow instead.

Members of a Berkut unit in Kiev, Ukraine, on Feb. 22.YANNIS BEHRAKIS / Reuters

Ukraine has been consumed by a three-month-long political crisis.

Yanukovych and protest leaders signed an agreement last week to end the conflict that left more than 80 people dead in just a few days in Kiev.

Shortly after, Yanukovych fled the capital for his powerbase in eastern Ukraiune but his exact whereabouts are unknown.

- The Associated Press