During peaceful assemblies, especially the ones that involve large numbers of people, participants and organizers of peaceful assemblies may intentionally or unintentionally undertake actions with signs of a minor offence, for which administrative responsibility and punishment may be a warning, fine, or administrative arrest for the term of up to 15 days.

With a view to preventing misunderstandings or negative situations during peaceful assemblies, we suggest considering the following list of unlawful actions, according to the Code of Ukraine on Administrative Offences which entail administrative responsibility.


Petty crime stands for obscenities in public places, insulting pestering of citizens, and other similar actions that disrupt public order and peace of citizens (Article 173 of the Code of Ukraine on Administrative Offences)

Such offence includes, among other things, insults targeting passers-by, representatives of the authorities, participants of countergatherings, or employees of the National Police who ensure protection of protesters and surrounding people.

Shooting from firearms or blade throwing weapons, devices used to shoot ammunition equipped with rubber or similar in terms of characteristics throwing non-lethal ordnances, or pneumatic weapons of 4.5 mm caliber and speed of bullets of over 100 m/s in places not meant for that (Article 174 of the Code of Ukraine on Administrative Offences)

Responsibility for such offence is entailed even when the person who is shooting has the legal permit for carrying and using weapons because in a crowd any use of weapon poses threats of harming or causing uncontrolled panic among participants.

Drinking beer (except for non-alcoholic), alcoholic, low-alcohol beverages in public places or presence in the state of intoxication in public places, which insults human dignity and public morale(Article 178 of the Code of Ukraine on Administrative Offences)

Employees of the National Police have the right to impose an administrative sanction (fine in the amount of UAH 17–85) if during the peaceful assembly a participant drinks alcoholic beverage or is drunk and looks indecent (dirty, half-dressed) or is inadequate.

Malicious disobedience to a legal order or demand of a police officer when the latter fulfills official duties (Article 185 of the Code of Ukraine on Administrative Offences) 

“Maliciousness” of disobedience envisions refusal to comply with persistent, repeated legal orders or demands of a police officer or insolent refusal that obviously shows contempt for law enforcers.

Violating the established order of organizing or holding gatherings, rallies, street marches, and demonstrations (Article 185-1 of the Code of Ukraine on Administrative Offences) 

Current Ukrainian legislation does not have any provisions relating to organization or conduct of peaceful assemblies. Therefore, it is important for organizers and protesters to comply with conventional rules of conduct and refrain from committing administrative or criminal offences.

Public calls not to comply with orders or demands of a police officer when the latter is fulfilling duties relating to protection of public order or dissemination of knowingly inaccurate information with a view to provoking disobedience to the legal demand of a police officer if it has resulted in disruption of the public order (Article 185-7 of the Code of Ukraine on Administrative Offences) 

Such actions, for instance, include an attempt of a protester to convince other persons not to comply with the legal demand of a police officer relating to termination of the property damage (windows, cars, etc.).

Public order includes safety of life and health, honor and dignity of citizens, preservation of property, normal functioning of enterprises, institutions, organizations, and their employees. During peaceful assemblies the key aim of public order protection will be ensuring safety of citizens and peaceful nature of the rally.

Violating rules of storing, carrying, or transporting gratuity, firearms, hunting, or cold weapons, as well as pneumatic weapons with caliber of over 4.5 mm and bullet speed of over 100 m/s and ordnances by citizens who have the respective permit issued by the authorized state body for storage of such weapons (Article 191 of the Code of Ukraine on Administrative Offences)

The legislation determines the procedure of handling weapons that are legally held by citizens. The procedure of carrying and storage demands unloaded state of weapons and transporting it only in specially equipped carriers, as well as with a special permit issued by the police.


We hereby emphasize that the fact that participants of peaceful assemblies have weapons with them raises a doubt about peaceful intentions of protesters and may pose danger to people around them. Besides, this may give the police a reason to use against a person with weapons force, including special-purpose with a view to stopping the respective offence.


Use of special self-defense means with violation of established rules (Article 195-3 of the Code of Ukraine on Administrative Offences) 

Special self-defense means – include pepper spray canisters, gas pistols, revolver guns, and ammunition for them, equipped with tear gas and irritative substances. The procedure of their use is determined by the legislation.

Pepper spray canisters are sold to citizens aged above 18 without the need to have any permit. A permit obtained from law enforcement agencies is needed to purchase gas pistols and revolver guns. It is also necessary to have this permit with you when you carry such weapons.


It is prohibited to use special self-defense means in case of a large crowd of people, as well as against employees of law enforcement agencies when they fulfill their official duties


Violating the procedure of using pyrotechnics (Article 195-6 of the Code of Ukraine on Administrative Offences) 

Pyrotechnic stands for specially equipped objects that explode upon firing, cause smoke, sound, light, or heat effect.


Use of pyrotechnics is temporarily prohibited in many towns of Ukraine (including Kyiv, Lviv, Kharkiv, Zaporizhzhia, Ternopil, etc.) pursuant to decisions of local authorities.


CRIMINAL RESPONSIBILITY                        

During peaceful assemblies, participants and organizers should comply with general rules of conduct in public places, refrain from provoking and entering conflicts with each other, with participants of countergatherings, law enforcers, and citizens.

Below you can see a list of actions (which is not exhaustive) that are considered to be crimes according to the Criminal Code of Ukraine and that are punished with, among other things, detention for different terms.

Actions aimed at ensuring forced change or overthrow of the constitutional order or seizure of the state power, as well as a plot to undertake such actions or public calls to do that, dissemination of materials with calls to undertake such actions (Article 109 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine)

The legislation does not have the list of such actions because of the large scope of such notions as “constitutional order” and “state power”. For instance, responsibility will be entailed for calls to commit certain actions in order to create illegal armed formations with a view to seizing power in the state.
Public calls envision open appeals to a large scope of people, which is why appeals to several citizens would not be considered as a crime.

Intentional actions committed with a view to changing boundaries of territories or state borders of Ukraine in violation of the procedure stipulated by the Constitution of Ukraine, as well as public calls to do that or dissemination of materials with such calls (Article 110 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine)

An example of a crime envisioned by Article 110 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine may include conduct of rallies at which there are voiced calls to create a separate state on a specific part of the territory of Ukraine (region, district) or connect a specific part of Ukraine to another state.

Explosions aimed at weakening the state, arsons, or other actions aimed at ensuring mass destruction of people, invoking bodily harm or other damage to their health, destroying or damaging objects that are important for the national economy or defense (diversion) (Article 113 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine)

Such explosions, arsons, or damages, as a rule, occur along with other crimes against national security and are aimed at spreading panic and instilling fear in a large number of people or making it impossible for objects of state importance to function, for instance, railway junctions, defense enterprises, etc.

Obstruction of legal professional activities of journalists; influence in any form on the journalist with a view to obstructing fulfillment of his/her professional duties or persecution of the journalist due to his/her legal professional activity (Article 171 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine)

Obstruction of journalists’ activities includes illegal seizure of materials gathered, processed, and prepared by the journalist and technical means that the journalist uses for his/her professional activities, as well as any other intentional prevention of a journalist from performing his/her lawful, professional activity.

Intentional destruction or damaging of somebody else’s property, which has caused significant harm (over UAH 240,000) or has been committed via arson, explosion, or in any other generally dangerous way or has resulted in people’s deaths or other severe consequences (Article 194 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine)

As a rule, during peaceful assemblies it means destruction of windows and premises of nearby shops or damaging of cars parked in the vicinity.

Threat to destroy somebody else’s property via arson, explosion, or in any other generally dangerous way if there are real grounds to fear fulfillment of this threat (Article 195 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine)

Real grounds may, for instance, include the fact that a person issuing a threat may hold an explosive device or an object that looks like it.

Illegal handling of weapons, ordnances, or explosive substances: carrying or storage of firearms (except for smoothbore hunting ones), ammunition, explosive substances or explosive devices without a permit envisioned by the law: carrying of daggers, switchblades, knuckleduster, or other blade weapons without a permit envisioned by the law (Article 263 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine)

The legislation envisions the procedure of handling weapons that are legally held by citizens.

The procedure of carrying and storage requires the unloaded state of weapons and their transportation only in specially equipped carriers, as well as presence of a respective permit issued by the police.

Firearms stand for weapons intended to impact targets with ordnances, movement of which is directed in the barrel and which have sufficient kinetic energy to impact the target located at a determined distance;

Ordnances stand for specially manufactured one-use items intended to ensure impacting of targets in conditions of armed fight, self-defense, hunting, sport. These include ammunition for rifled-barrel firearms with different calibers, as well as loaded ammunition for slug guns, shooting powder, and vials;

Explosive substances are hard, liquid, or gas substances or mixtures that detonate when used as primary, accelerative, or main charge in ordnances, devices intended for destruction and other purposes;

Explosive devices are industrial, homemade, or self-made one-time use devices, construction of which envisions creation of adverse factors or use of useful work at the expense of energy of the chemical explosion of the explosive substance or mixture charge;

Daggers and switchblades stand for types of blade weapons that are characterized by the presence of a handle with buttress, which limits insertion of a blade into the body, and a blade of a specific form: a dagger has a long, narrow, double-sided-edged, and a pointy end, while the switchblade has a short, blunt, one-sided-edged, and a curved sharp side;

Knuckleduster is a type of blade impact weapons, which is a metal plate with holes for fingers;

Other blade weapons stand for objects and devices with construction and characteristics that make them suitable for repeated infliction of severe (life-threatening as of the moment of infliction) and lethal bodily harm by means of a direct impact and its effect is based on the use of the person’s muscle strength.

Intentional destruction or damaging of transport routes, constructions located there, rolling stock or vessels, communication means or signal means, as well as other actions aimed at turning these objects unsuitable for use if this has caused or might have caused an accident involving a train, vessel, or disrupted normal functioning of transport, or posed threats to life of people, or resulted in other severe consequences (Article 277 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine)

Transport routes stand for car roads, railways, or monorails, water routes, air routes, etc.

An important sign of committing such crime will be an intention to undertake certain actions to achieve the result. An example of such intentional actions is destruction of power supply systems of traffic lights or significant damages to railways.

Blocking of transportation lines by means of installing obstacles, switching off electricity supply, or doing that in any other way, which has disrupted normal work of transport or posed danger to people’s life or resulted in other severe consequences; seizure of a station, air field, port, station, or other transport enterprise, institution, or organization (Article 279 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine)

Transport communications stand for transport routes, constructions located there, means of signaling and communication for all types of transport, pipelines, compressor stations, etc. Peaceful assemblies may to some extent restrict movement of transport since, for instance, sidewalks do not always have enough space for all participants;

At the same time, the Criminal Code of Ukraine singles out the most important strategic objects, normal functioning of which shall be uninterrupted. It is a crime, for instance, to install barricades on roads of international importance or create large-scale logjams on railways.

Organization of mass riots accompanied by violence against a person, bashing, arsons, destruction of property, seizure of buildings or constructions, forced eviction of citizens, resistance to representatives of the authorities with the use of weapons or other objects used as weapons, as well as active participation in mass riots (Article 294 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine)

Mass riots constitute a phenomenon opposite to peaceful assemblies and are more dangerous than group violation of public order.

This is explained both by engagement of a larger number of participants and seriousness of consequences: infliction of bodily harm to citizens, use of weapons, significant destruction of property, provocation, and clashes with police officers, etc.

Сalls to undertake actions that threaten public order, public calls to bashing, arsons, destruction of property, seizure of buildings or constructions, forced eviction of citizens that threaten public order, as well as dissemination, publication, or storage with the purpose of dissemination of materials with such content (Article 295 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine)

It is possible to bring to criminal responsibility for such calls only if they target a large number of people.

Hooliganism, i.e. gross violation of public order pursuant to motivation of evident disrespect for the society, which is accompanied by particular impertinence or exceptional cynicism (Article 296 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine)

Particular impertinence stands for a gross violation of public order accompanied, for instance, by violence with beating an affected person or infliction of bodily harm, humiliation, destruction or damaging of property, disruption of a mass event, temporary suspension of normal functioning of an institution, enterprise, or organization, movement of public transport, etc. or such conduct that the person has persistently refused to stop for a long time;

Exceptional cynicism stands for actions combined with defiant contempt for generally accepted morale norms, for instance, display of shamelessness, bullying of a sick person, child, elderly person, or person who has been helpless, etc.

Production, dissemination of communist, Nazi symbols and propaganda of communist and Nazi (national socialist) totalitarian regimes (Article 436-1 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine)

Production, dissemination, as well as public use of symbols of the communist regime includes, among others, use of the USSR flags during rallies or dissemination of souvenirs with respective images.

Seizure of buildings or constructions that ensure functioning of public authorities, local self-government bodies, unions of citizens with a view to illegally using them or obstructing normal functioning of enterprises, institutions, organizations (Article 341 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine)

For instance, a group of protesters break in into premises of a regional, town (district) administration and block access of its employees to their workplaces.

Resistance to a representative of the authorities, employee of a law enforcement body when they fulfill their duties relating to protection of public order (Article 342 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine)

Contrary to administrative responsibility when a person refuses to comply with demands of law enforcers, criminal responsibility is envisioned for resistance combined with physical fightback.

Public order includes safety of life and health, honor and dignity of citizens, preservation of property, normal functioning of enterprises, organizations, institutions, and their employees. During peaceful assemblies, the main goal relating to protection of public order consists in ensuring safety of peaceful citizens and peaceful nature of the assembly.

Threat or violence against an employee of law enforcement bodies due to the latter fulfilling his/her official duties (Article 345 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine) or against a journalist due to his/her legal professional activities (Article 345-1 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine)

While communicating with law enforcers or journalists, you should be reasonable and polite as threats voiced during a heated discussion may be classified as a protester committing a crime.

Intentional failure to execute a punishment, ruling, court ruling that has come into force or obstruction of their fulfillment (Article 382 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine):

This Article concerns, among others, failure to execute court decisions on restriction or prohibition to hold a peaceful assembly.

ADMINISTRATIVE DETENTION                         

Administrative detention and/or frisking are possible for the following purposes:

  • to stop administrative offences when other enforcement actions have been exhausted
  • to identify a person
  • to execute a protocol on administrative offence if it is impossible to compile it in location where it has been committed.



Superficial frisking consists in carrying out a visual inspection of a person, patting the surface of clothes with a hand or using a special device or tool for that, performing visual inspection of an item or vehicle.

Superficial frisking differs from frisking that is performed by a person of the same sex as the person who is checked in the presence of two witnesses of the same sex and with a mandatory execution of a protocol. Law enforcers are also obliged to inform about the ground of frisking.


There is an executed protocol on administrative detention that obligatorily indicates time and grounds of detention. The protocol is compiled using a form.

Police officers notify relatives at once about location of the detained person, as well as his/her employer or a body authorized by him/her upon request of this person.

Besides, centers that provide free-of-charge secondary legal assistance* should be notified, except for instances when the person defends himself/herself on his/her own or has invited an attorney.

*persons to whom administrative detention is applied have the right for representation of their interests in courts, internal affairs bodies, before other persons; execution of procedural documents.


The term of administrative detention does not exceed 3 hours, the countdown starts as of the moment of actual detention.

At the same time, it is possible to detain a citizen who has not committed any offences and does not carry documents for identification only in separate districts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions, taking into account measures on ensuring of national security and defense.

CRIMINAL DETENTION                        

An authorized official has the right to detain a person suspected of committing a crime without a ruling of an investigative judge exclusively with respect to crimes for which imprisonment is envisioned and if:

  • a person was caught while committing a crime or attempting to commit it
  • immediately after committing a crime an eyewitness, including an affected person, or totality of obvious signs on the body, clothes, or place where it occurred indicate that this particular person committed a crime.



Countdown of time of detention starts as of the moment when by force or via complying with an order a person has to stay close to a person who has detained him/her or in a place designated by this person and not since the moment when the protocol on detention is executed.


Frisking of a detained person may be conducted only pursuant to a decision of a detective, prosecutor if there are sufficient grounds to believe that the person is concealing objects or documents that are meaningful for the investigation.

The person is frisked by persons of the same sex with mandatory participation of at least 2 witnesses.

The detained person has the right to demand that such frisking is carried out in the presence of an attorney or representative.



— Immediately notify:

  • about grounds of detention;
  • of committing which crime the detained person is suspected;

Clarify the right:

  • to have a defense attorney;
  • to receive medical assistance;
  • to provide explanations or keep silent with respect to the suspicion against him/her;
  • to notify other persons* (relatives, family members, other selected persons) about detention and location at once;
  • to demand to check whether detention is justified;
  • to enjoy other procedural rights.

* If during detention there have emerged grounds for a justified suspicion that you may interfere with a pre-trial investigation while notifying about detention, the person who has performed detention may inform relatives, family members, other persons selected by the detained person on his/her own, but without violation of the demand relating to immediacy.

To immediately notify the respective Center for provision of free-of-charge legal assistance that provides for arrival of a defense attorney about detention*

*Centers for provision of free-of-charge secondary legal assistance (addresses and websites):

There shall be executed a protocol on detention that indicates motions, statements, or complaints of the detained person.

After detention the person shall be immediately brought to the closest division of the pre-trial investigation body (police department). If the period of time during which the person was brought there lasted more than objectively needed, the detective shall carry out a check to resolve the issue about guilt of the person who had performed detention.


  • immediately register the detained person;
  • clarify grounds of detention, rights, and obligations to him/her;
  • immediately release him/her once grounds of detention disappear or the term of detention expires;
  • ensure proper treatment and compliance with constitutional rights of the detained person;
  • ensure recording of all actions carried out with engagement of the detained person;
  • ensure immediate provision of medical assistance and recording of any signs of bodily harm by a health care specialist. Upon wish of the detained person, a specific person with the right to render health care services may be allowed to assist the detained person.

A notification on suspicion shall be handed over to the person within 24 hours (and not later) since the moment of detention. If this has not been done, the detained person shall be released at once.


Even if the notification on suspicion has been handed over, the person shall be released or brought to court to consider the issue on selection of a preventive measure not later than 60 hours since the moment of detention.

Overall, detention without a ruling of an investigative judge may not exceed 72 hours.