Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov has claimed that his government has supplied 18,000 submachine guns and ammunition to civilians and militia fighters since the start of Russia’s invasion.
The move has been widely celebrated by leftists who stand against an armed citizenry in the United States.
President Volodymyr Zelensky tweeted about the weapon giveaway on Thursday.
“We will give weapons to anyone who wants to defend our country,” Zelensky said in an English-language announcement on Twitter. “Be ready to support Ukraine in the squares of our cities.”
We will give weapons to anyone who wants to defend the country. Be ready to support Ukraine in the squares of our cities.
— Володимир Зеленський (@ZelenskyyUa) February 24, 2022
Occupy Democrats, an organization with over a quarter of a million followers on Twitter and over 10 million on Facebook, tweeted “BREAKING: Ukraine’s Interior Minister announces that 10,000 automatic rifles have been handed out to the civilians of Kyiv as they prepare to fight tooth and nail to defend their homes against Putin’s invasion. RT IF YOU STAND WITH THE BRAVE UKRAINIAN PEOPLE!”
— Defiant L’s (@DefiantLs) February 25, 2022
The tweet had nearly 10,000 “likes” by the time of publishing.
A video of the weapons being given away in Kyiv was posted to social media. The caption reads, “In Kyiv, handing out weapons to people.”
В Киеве раздают оружие людям pic.twitter.com/YD8Cf3ZE1H
— Ходорковский Михаил (@mich261213) February 25, 2022
Prior to the giveaway, Ukrainians were overwhelming gun shops after a law was passed on Wednesday allowing them to carry weapons.
The new law states that Ukrainians are now allowed “acquisition, possession, alienation, carrying, transportation, repair, use of civilian firearms and ammunition.”
“With a state of emergency set to be unveiled, the country’s parliament approved a draft law that gives Ukrainians permission to carry firearms. Previously they were forbidden from leaving home with lethal weapons,” The Guardian reports. “Gun shops have sold out of some weapons, such as AR-10 and AR-15 assault rifles, with business now exceptionally busy.”
“Most Ukrainians – boys and girls – learn how to shoot at school. About 400,000 people are estimated to have combat experience, following Vladimir Putin’s 2014 annexation of Crimea and the Moscow-supported armed uprising in the east,” The Guardian report continued.