Ukraine will use force if protest 'provocateurs' do not stop: PM

Ukraine's Prime Minister Mykola Azarov (L) greets supporters of the pro-presidential Party of the Regions as they take part in a rally near the Parliament building in Kiev January 16, 2014. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

KIEV: The Ukrainian authorities will have no choice other than to use force against protests if "provocateurs" do not stop inciting clashes, Prime Minister Mykola Azarov said Tuesday.

"If the provocateurs do not stop then the authorities will have no choice other than to use the force set out under the law and ensure the security of our people," he told Russia's Vesti 24 state news channel in an interview, referring to controversial anti-protest laws that came into force Tuesday.

Kiev has been rocked by two consecutive nights of clashes between protesters and security forces in the worst violence seen in two months of protests against President Viktor Yanukovych.

Azarov added that he hoped there would be no need for the use of force to disperse the protests.

"We are hoping for common sense," he added. "People need to understand that they are being offered chaos and destruction."

He also denied rumours the government could be planning to impose a state of emergency, saying that the situation in Kiev "was far from that" where it would be needed to look at such a possibility.

Writing on his Facebook page in similar comments released at the same time, Azarov added that the leaders of the opposition parties were responsible for the unrest in Kiev.

"The main task of the president and government is to prevent escalation of violent confrontation," he added.





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