Interior Ministry: Police officers allowed to use combat weapons
Acting Interior Minister Vitaliy Zakharchenko has signed respective orders as part of the work of the Anti-Terrorist Center of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) - law enforcement officers have been provided with combat weapons and they will be used in accordance with the Ukrainian law on police.
Zakharchenko said this in a statement to citizens on Thursday, the press service of the Interior Ministry reported.
In particular, combat firearms could be used "to protect citizens from attacks threatening their lives and health, release hostages, repel attacks on police officers or members of their family if their lives or health are in danger, as well as to repel attacks on protected objects, convoys, living quarters of citizens, premises of government enterprises, institutions and organizations, and to release them in case of capture, etc." "The police are an armed branch of executive authorities, and the law allows the use of force, special means and weapons. And there is no democratic country, in which police forces have shown such restraint and tolerance. But the task of the Ukrainian Interior Ministry is to support legality, and the police are able to restore order and peace in the country," reads the statement. The Ukrainian Interior Ministry has repeatedly called on protesters to stop illegal activities. "We warned of criminal responsibility. We explained what kind of violations of law occurred. We warned not to be led by radical militants. But, unfortunately, nobody has expressed a desire to listen to us and make respective conclusions," Zakharchenko said. He added that not only law enforcement officers, but also peaceful citizens died in the streets. "Disorder has begun in Kyiv and the western region of the state. Criminals are destroying all around, seizing institutions and shops, setting fire to cars, administrative and residential buildings." The Interior Ministry demanded that protesters voluntarily lay down their weapons and return to peaceful protests and that the opposition leaders and representatives who are able to soberly assess the situation dissociate themselves from the radicals and not to support them in future.