Ukraine Rules Out Using Army Against Protesters

Ukraine Rules Out Using Army Against Protesters
# 03 December 2013 19:44 (UTC +04:00)

"Ukraine's armed forces cannot be used to restrict the rights and freedoms of citizens or to overthrow the constitutional system in the country, depose bodies of power or hinder their activity," the ministry said in a statement.

"Therefore the statements some media are distributing about the possibility of the Ukrainian armed forces being used against peaceful demonstrators are pure provocation," it said.

The ministry said Ukraine's constitution states that the armed forces are meant exclusively to defend the country and protect its sovereignty and territorial integrity, and cannot be used in internal political conflict.

Street protests began in Ukraine last month when President Viktor Yanukovych announced the suspension of the signing of landmark deals with the EU, pledging instead to focus on strengthening ties with Moscow.

Tens of thousands of pro-Western demonstrators have taken to the streets in Kiev and other cities around Ukraine since the announcement on November 21, some carrying signs bearing anti-government slogans and many demanding the resignation of the country's leadership.

Demonstrations were largely peaceful until early Saturday, when police staged a brutal crackdown to clear Kiev's Independence Square, the focal point of the Orange Revolution of 2004-2005. The next day, a mob attempted to storm the capital's presidential administration building. Nearly 300 people were injured in the clashes, about 200 of them police officers, Ukraine's Interior Ministry said Tuesday.

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THE OPERATION IS BEING PERFORMED