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Russia Hurries to Issue Passports for Ukraine's Former Riot Police | World | RIA Novosti

MOSCOW, February 28 (RIA Novosti) - The Russian Foreign Ministry said Friday it has ordered its consulate in Crimea to speed up the issuance of passports and citizenship to members of Ukraine's elite Berkut riot police.

"The Russian consulate in Simferopol has been instructed to take all necessary measures to start issuing Russian passports to officers of the Berkut unit," the ministry said in its Facebook blog.

The new authorities in Kiev have disbanded the Berkut following last week's deadly clashes between riot police and anti-government protestors that left 88 people dead and injured hundreds before Ukraine's President Viktor Yanukovych fled the capital.

His government deployed Berkut repeatedly to contain and break up the demonstrations that began in late November, after Yanukovych's sudden decision to abandon Ukraine's planned association agreement with the European Union.

Berkut forces were dispatched to forcibly break up tent dwellings within days of the protests starting in Kiev's central Independence Square, a tactical miscalculation that added impetus to the demonstrations.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Feb 28th, 2014 at 03:26:19 PM EST

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