Ukrainian Police Given Firearms, Party Of Regions Splintering

World | February 20, 2014, Thursday // 16:37| Views: 1179 | Comments: 0
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Bulgaria: Ukrainian Police Given Firearms, Party Of Regions Splintering Activist mourne the felllow protesters killed in clashes with riot police in Kiev, Ukraine, 20 February 2014. Photo by EPA/LASZLO BELICZAY.

Ukrainian police were given firearms and were allowed to use them in accordance with the law by the Interior Ministry.

In a statement published Thursday afternoon, acting minister Vitaliy Zakharchenko, who announced the decision, blamed the unrest "solely on opposition leaders and radicals".

He justified his decision to allow police to use combat weapons by saying that the participants in the unrest ignore the demands of Ukrainian officials. The Interior Ministry, in his words, is in charge of maintaining the order and restoring tranquility in the country.

Zakharchenko also underscored that oppositional leaders do not wish to disunite themselves from the radical elements and provoke the latter for actions of violence.

Tension is still on the rise in Ukraine as hopes for supporting overnight's temporary truce are now completely abandoned.

Russian Interfax news agency reports that people are fleeing the center of Kiev. Other parts of the capital have also suffered the impact of the renewed unrest, as their usually busy streets seem to be deserted.

In Western Ukraine, protesters have again seized control of municipal and other administrative structures. In Ivano-Frankivsk, a motion of no-confidence in President Yanukovych was passed designating him an "illegitimate head of state", a reporter of the UNIAN news agency was quoted as saying by the BBC.

In another development of events, Russian website Lenta.ru has informed that more than 10 members of the ruling Party of Regions have quit over the past few hours.

Ten MPs from its group have meanwhile said that would back the opposition's proposal for constitutional changes.

On Thursday afternoon, opposition party Batkivshchyna's leader Arseniy Yatsenyuk has vowed to push on with the proposal in Ukrainian parliament.

Local TV stations in the city later showed a plenary session taking place in the Verkhovnaya Rada, which is the parliament's building. According to the footage, the constitutional proposal was once more rejected by the majority.

In Europe, the response to the Ukrainian crisis is expected to be clear after the emergency meeting on Thursday evening.

Earlier during the day, talks between the foreign ministers of Germany, France and Poland with Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych took place in Kiev. No official statement has so far been made on their outcome.

Meanwhile the number of victims in Kiev has grown to 60, according to the latest media reports.

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Tags: Ukraine, police, interior ministry, killed, combat weapons, Vitaliy Zakharchenko, Arseniy Yatsenyuk
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