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New law makes it legal for Ukrainian civilians to kill Russian troops
10 March 2022, 12:34
A new law signed by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has made it legal for citizens to kill deployed Russian troops in the country.
Ukraine passed a bill making it legal for civilians to take up arms to kill Russian soldiers as cities continue to be attacked.
President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy signed the bill that states citizens will not be "liable" for harming any aggressors to Ukraine.
"Civilians shall not be criminally liable for the use of firearms against persons who carry out armed aggression against Ukraine, if such weapons are used in accordance with the requirements of the Law of Ukraine", the bill said.
The bills comes as the UN announced more than 360 civilians have already been killed in Ukraine.
A new bill officially makes it totally legal for civilians to kill Russian military personnel deployed to Ukraine pic.twitter.com/6EQ2H92qEY— Illia Ponomarenko 🇺🇦 (@IAPonomarenko) March 9, 2022
The bill effectively means citizens will be able to join the fight in Ukraine without fear of legal reparations for violence against Russian forces.
Though the new bill will allow citizens access to firearms, it states they have to be turned over to the authorities after the martial law ends, according to the translated document.
But, some argue that it may remove the current civilian protection under the Geneva Convention. It says that civilians in armed conflict zones are to be protected - the new bill may remove this protection.
This comes as hundreds of people have travelled to Ukraine to fight against the Russian invasion from across Europe.
President Zelenskyy set up the "international" defence legion for people from abroad that wanted to fight alongside Ukrainian forces.
He publicly urged foreigners "to fight side-by-side with Ukrainians against the Russian war criminals."
Last week, Mr Zelenskyy said that more than 16,000 foreigners had volunteered, without specifying how many had arrived.
A number of British soldiers have allegedly travelled to Ukraine against the orders of their superiors.
Defence secretary Ben Wallace said they risk facing a court martial for desertion if they go to fight the Russian invasion.
The Ministry of Defence warned British soldiers that they are banned from travelling to Ukraine after reports emerged that four serving squaddies travelled to the country of their own accord to fight.
The bill comes after a maternity hospital was hit by a Russian airstrike in the southern port city of Mariupol.
President Zelenskyy also said that children were part of the 17 reported injured by the airstrike - and accused Russian president Vladimir Putin of war crimes.
"Direct strike of Russian troops at the maternity hospital. People, children are under the wreckage," he said.
“Stop the killings! You have power but you seem to be losing humanity.”