Russian President Vladimir Putin authorized a total invasion of Ukraine on Thursday.
Ukraine’s Minister of Defense, Oleksii Reznikov, claimed on Friday his administration distributed 18,000 machine guns and ammo to citizens and militia fighters.
The Right to Bear Arms
On the brink of the comprehensive Russian invasion, the Ukrainian legislature dramatically enlarged the right to bear arms.
When Russian troops started fighting various major Ukrainian cities the next day, President Volodymyr Zelensky declared everyone ready to confront the Russian military would be given a weapon without hesitation.
Reznikov released an update, which was published on social media by the Ukrainian military services. This indicated 18,000 firearms “and accompanying combat kits” or ammunition had been placed in the hands of Ukrainian residents.
It was also asking anyone eager to oppose the invasion to request weapons.
Significant fighting underway reportedly in Melitopol, southern Ukraine pic.twitter.com/keyX0mcdcf
— ELINT News (@ELINTNews) February 25, 2022
In a Facebook update, Reznikov said, “We have already succeeded in derailing the Russian invaders’ intentions. Right now, it’s critical to dismantling the Kremlin’s sea of lies. A murderer and rapist assaulting neighbors will come to an end.”
The final line is most likely an allusion to Putin. At the time of publication, the Ukrainian government has not produced any reports of rape being used as a tool of war in the Ukrainian crisis.
By the end of Thursday, the Kyiv Independent, a local news site, reported the administration had distributed 10,000 guns.
Mikhail Khodorkovsky, a Putin foe and former oil magnate, shared a video on social media that appeared to show widespread weapon trafficking in Kyiv.
Guns for All
The description on the video said, “In Kyiv, handing out guns to citizens.”
Large trucks full of cartons containing guns were shown in the footage, with plain-clothed people, probably citizens, collecting guns from them.
— Reuters (@Reuters) February 25, 2022
Khodorkovsky’s personal fortune plummeted after openly criticizing Putin in his homeland.
He made a point on Thursday to distance the Putin dictatorship from the Russian people, who have protested the incursion of Ukraine by the numbers in the streets of their towns.
“We must be clear that Putin and his circle, not the Russian people, entered the conflict in order to maintain their control,” Khodorkovsky stated on Thursday.
“A junta headed by Putin has taken power in Russia by unleashing a campaign of aggression and exploiting the military forces for personal advantage.”
“Friends, countrymen,” Khodorkovsky stated, “I urge you to utilize every opportunity to oppose this war. The war will be catastrophic to Russian society’s growth and a vital factor in Russian sovereignty.”
The arms handout began on Wednesday when the Ukrainian legislature passed a bill establishing the fundamental right of a free private citizen to own a gun.
The law now allows for the “acquisition, ownership, dispersion, carrying, transit, repair, and use of civilian firearms and ammunition,” per the state news agency Utriform.
On Thursday, just after the Russian military started bombing, Zelensky delivered a straightforward plea for individuals to come to the administration, pick up a pistol, and start fighting.