Ukraine parliament votes to disarm illegal self-defence groups

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The Ukrainian parliament has approved a move to disarm illegal self-defence groups that sprang up around the country during the protests against the previous government.

The vote was unopposed and followed a shooting in central Kyiv on Monday night in which three people were wounded.

A suspected member of a nationalist group was detained.

“Those who have weapons can only belong to the Ukrainian armed forces, the National Guard and Ukraine’s security service, or other military groups,” said Ukraine’s acting President Oleksandr Turchynov.

The proposal approved by parliament linked a growing “criminal atmosphere” to what it described as “systematic provocations from foreign citizens in the eastern-southern regions of Ukraine and in Kyiv” – suggesting that Russian agents or trouble-makers were stirring unrest in parts of the country.

“The situation where there are shootings in Kyiv the capital, where a lot of young men are walking with an uncontrolled number of weapons, must be ended,” said Udar party leader Vitaly Klychko.

Following Monday’s shooting, police surrounded and searched the Dnipro hotel, used by the nationalist Right Sector as its headquarters – reportedly finding several weapons.

They said the suspected member who was held had fired on people outside a restaurant, wounding three – including a government official.

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