Ukraine’s Acting Minister of Interior Vitaliy Zakharchenko made another statement to the citizens of Ukraine. He continues insisting that activists are killing policemen, who, in his opinion, only protected law and order and use no firearms.
Zaharchenko has also warned that the police were given combat weapons and they will use them. “Ministry of Interior of Ukraine has repeatedly called on the protesters to stop illegal actions. We warned about criminal responsibility. We explained what kind of violations of law are occurring. We warned them not to be led by radical militants.
“Unfortunately, no one wanted to hear us and draw appropriate conclusions.
“Today, February 20, military weapons were used to fire on police officers. Twenty-nine police officers are hospitalized with gunshot wounds, some were killed, and the number of victims is increasing by dozens. Some of our officers were captured because they were unarmed while protecting public order.
“We regard these actions as clear aggression by extremists who are trying to shift the blame on law enforcement, though all reasonable citizens have understood long ago that these actions have been triggered exclusively by opposition leaders.
“Opposition leaders claimed that they have no relation to the radicals, but they themselves entice these radicals to attack, and afterwards are unable to control them.
“The truce has been violated, extremists continue to attack.
“Working with the Anti-Terrorist Center of SBU (Security Service of Ukraine) I signed respective orders and law enforcement officers have been provided with combat weapons. According to the Law of Ukraine On Militia, combat weapons will be used:
· to protect civilians from attacks threatening their lives and health, and also to free hostages;
· to repel attacks on police officers or members of their family if their lives or health are in danger;
· to repel attacks on protected objects, convoys, residential buildings, buidings of state and public enterprises, institutions and organizations, and free them in case of seizure, etc.
“Not only law enforcement but also civilians are dying in the streets. Pogroms in Kyiv started in the western part of Ukraine. Criminals crush everything around them, capture institutions and shops, set on fire cars, administrative and residential buildings. Leaders of the Right Sector provoke people to arm themselves and seize state institutions. The Ministry of Interior requests that the extremists surrender their weapons voluntarily and return to peaceful protests. Leaders and representatives of the opposition who are able to soberly assess the situation shold disassociate themselves from the radicals and not support them in the future.
“The police force is an armed institution of the executive and the law allows them to use force, special means and weapons. There is no democratic country where police forces have shown as much restraint and tolerance.
“However, the task of the Ministry of Internal Affairs is to uphold the rule of law, and police is capable of restoring peace and order in the country,” said Zaharchenko.
Just to remind, snipers opened fire on the protesters resulting in 32 dead, according to journalists’ count.
Translated by Vitalii Usenko
Edited by Natalie Domchenko, Mariana Budjeryn