Donetsk, Aug 9 - DAN. A poisonous chemical agent killed people at the Odessa Trade Union House on 2 May 2014, said expatriate Ukrainian forensic expert Sergey Iskruk who took part in the probe into the tragedy.

“According to medicolegal examination, chloroform was found in victims’ blood,” Iskruk told a news briefing at Donetsk News Agency on Wednesday.

In a physico-chemical process, chloroform, if exposed to light or fire, turns into phosgene. “A possible conclusion is that chloroform was used in that particular case as it turned into a poisonous substance, phosgene, under the influence of fire.”

“A person, asphyxiated or dying in a fire, often assumes so-called ‘boxer’s posture.’ According to the criminal case materials, the victims had not taken on that pose, all the bodies were relaxed,” the expert said.

Thus, the experts’ conclusions show that the Trade Union House massacre had been carefully planned.

Iskruk was involved in the 2015 investigation into the mass deaths at the Odessa Trade Union House. As he presented the expert examination results last year, he came under pressure from the Ukrainian Prosecutor General’s Office: initially, he was asked to revise his conclusions, and then physical force was used on him.

He decided to leave Ukraine for safety reasons after Praviy Sektor extremists demanded that he sign a new version of the expert examination.

The tragic events in Odessa unfolded on 2 May 2014. Activists of the Right Sector extremist organisation of neo-fascist ideology together with so-called Maidan Self-Defence activists burnt down a tent camp in Kulikovo Pole square where signature collection was underway in support of the referendum on federalisation of Ukraine and official status of the Russian language.

The supporters of federalisation and anti-Maidan movement took shelter in the Trade Unions House but radicals encircled the building and torched it.

The tragedy left 40 to 200 people dead and more than 200 injured, according to various reports. The culprits were never punished, while the injured parties found themselves in the prisoner’s dock.*jk