Members of 'National Squads' not using weapons, not supporting any of politicians - commander
KYIV. Jan 31 (Interfax-Ukraine) - NGO "National Squads" already includes about 1,000 people, and all rallies are held on a free basis without the use of weapons, the commander of the "National Squads," Ihor Mykhailenko, has said.
"We have done a lot of work in the public sector during the year. We mainly patrol, and this does not mean that we detain anyone or check documents. We show with our presence on the streets of the cities that there is no place for crime. As a rule, when young athletic people stay on the streets, nothing happens," he said at a press conference at the Interfax-Ukraine news agency on Wednesday.
According to him, there were several cases in Dnipro, Ivano-Frankivsk and Kyiv when activists detained thieves and sellers of drugs and handed them over to the National Police.
"These were isolated cases. We acted within the current legislation," he said.
Mykhailenko noted that activists do not use weapons and do not support any politicians.
"In 2014, the Ukrainian people experienced an extraordinary emotional upsurge, and within three years, the current government missed out this upsurge, as well as the economy and the law enforcement bloc. How can I and our organization relate to such politicians? Of course, it's negative," the commander said.
He also noted that members of the organization do not receive a salary or a reward and do not take money from anybody for their actions.
"This situation is not even considered. We do not pay our activists for participation in our actions, because we are joined by active citizens who want order in their cities. They join free of charge. We have nothing to do with paid actions," Mykhailenko said.
According to him, national squads are trained in gyms and learn how to handle weapons.
"The older guys who served in the National Guard and the army are training new members. We are the force that, in case a repeat of the events of 2014, will be the first to defend the borders of Ukraine," he said.
Speaking of plans for the future, he noted that activists would not patrol the streets in the format of the patrol police.
"We also do not intend to persecute people of non-Ukrainian nationality. Our national squads included Georgians, Russians, Belarusians. They all support the protection of Ukrainian nationalism," he said.