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Russian Interior Ministry denies shoot-to-kill orders

Moscow, 27 February: The Russian Interior Ministry has not issued any regulations permitting police to shoot to kill at protesters, and reports from a number of media and human rights activists on this subject are "nonsense", the deputy head of the Public Order Department at the Russian Interior Ministry, Maj-Gen Leonid Vedenov, told RIA-Novosti today.

The opposition site Ingushetiya.org reports that in accordance with a service order police officers will be given the right to shoot to kill at protesters. According to information in the possession of the chair of the Moscow Helsinki Group, Lyudmila Alekseyeva, this is supposedly order No 800. It is reported that these measures are connected with the expectation of mass popular demonstrations.

"These kinds of statements are stuff and nonsense. I cannot call them anything else. I know nothing about any order of this kind. All the regulations of the Interior Ministry of the Russian Federation are issued on the basis of the requirements of Russian legislation. We cannot exceed the powers stipulated by law, never mind something like this," Vedenov said

He added that there are relevant documents clearly regulating the operations of special subunits involved in maintaining public order, which the Russian police force religiously follows.

"I am 99.9 per cent sure that nothing like this (a regulation allowing officers to shoot to kill) can exist. God alone can be 100 per cent sure," Vedenov added.

A RIA-Novosti source in a forces agency also described the reports as "nonsense".

"There is a 'Law on the police' in which are clearly laid down the rules for the use of service weapons by police officers, and there is no need to invent anything new," RIA's contact said.