Three Ukrainians Charged with Stealing 100,000 Surgical Masks
Three men have been detained in Ukraine, the prosecutor's office said Tuesday, after stealing 100,000 surgical masks as the coronavirus pandemic expands.
Ukraine has confirmed seven cases of COVID-19 and one death according to official figures published Tuesday.
Several men who purchased the masks worth a million hryvnia (about 44,000 euros, $37,000) with the aim of making a profit on resale were meeting buyers in Kiev last week when they were attacked, the prosecutor's office said.
A group of armed men posing as Ukrainian security officers briefly detained the buyers and sellers before making off with the masks.
Three men aged between 26 and 42 who are believed to be part of a five-member group face up to 10 years in prison if convicted.
Surgical masks are in short supply in Ukraine with some retailers dramatically hiking the price of the masks amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Kiev on Monday announced it was shutting public transport, bars, restaurants and shopping centers to prevent the spread of the virus.
Ukrainians clashed with police last month near a medical facility in a central region over government plans to quarantine evacuees from coronavirus-hit China.