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23 September 2017
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Avakov not to quit over Kniazhychi tragedy

Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov has said that he will not resign because of a shooting incident in the village of Kniazhychi in Kyiv region's Brovary district, where five law enforcement officers were killed, according to an UNIAN correspondent.

Photo from UNIAN
Photo from UNIAN

"There has been speculation about my resignation for a long time. I will draw conclusions and continue doing my job. If there are grounds for my resignation, and it will certainly happen one day, I'll do it," Avakov told journalists in Kyiv.

As UNIAN reported earlier, five members from different state law enforcement agencies were shot dead in a friendly fire incident between police and the State Guard Service, a police force that protects property, in the village of Kniazhychi in the early hours of December 4.

Conflicting reports on death toll of police friendly fire in Kniazhychi Undercover police officers from the criminal investigation department and a SWAT team were conducting surveillance nearby the house that was about to be robbed, according to a police tip, assisting the raid aimed to detain the burglars. At some moment, an alarm went off in a house nearby, prompting the arrival of a State Guard Service response team. The latter detained the undercover cops, having mistaken them for the burglars.

In a row of mutual misunderstanding and lack of coordination, the special-ops officers believed the criminals had captured their undercover colleagues and opened fire. Two State Guard Service officers, two undercover police officers, and a SWAT team member were killed in a shootout involving automatic guns.

Upon hearing gunshots, the suspects who were to be caught red-handed on that day gave up their plan and fled the scene, but were detained in Kyiv.

On December 6, a court ruled that six members of the gang suspected of the attempted burglary be remanded in custody, another one was placed under house arrest.

On December 8, a court issued a ruling on two more gang members: one was remanded in custody, the other one was placed under house arrest.

After the shooting incident, 25 police officers and chiefs of three divisions of Kyiv's police were removed from performing their duties for the period of the investigation.

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