Thursday, February 27, 2014

Berkut police unit disbanded

On 25 February 2014 acting Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov signed a decree on the dissolution of the elite Berkut police unit. The unit had 4,000-5,000 members stationed across Ukraine. It is still not clear what will happen to many Berkut officers, but acting interior minister said more details would be given in a briefing on Wednesday.
The history of Berkut Police Unit
The order to organize the OMON (Special Purpose Police Unit) in the USSR was issued in 1987.  The first units in the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic were formed in Kyiv, Dnipropetrovsk, Odessa, Lviv and Donetsk and were based on selected units of Soviet Internal Troops of the Ministry of Interior Affairs. After the disintegration of the Soviet Union it was decided to organize such units in every regional center as part of the Ministry of Interior of Ukraine. On January 16, 1992 the order was issued to create quick reaction force (QRF) units "Berkut", which was fully implemented by the start of 1993.

Defensive line of "Berkut" unitmen in riot gear by the building of the Cabinet of Ministers during 2013 Euromaidan protests.