Border guards in Ukraine are given access to firearms and other military equipment. Parliament has passed a law that makes this possible.
The decision comes at a time when Russia is building up troops on its border with Ukraine, and neighbouring Belarus is facing a migrant crisis.
The equipment includes ships and aircraft. Under the new law, border guards are also allowed to use physical force. Ukrainian President Volodimir Zelensky is concerned about both the situation in Russia and Belarus.
The government has sent additional border guards and other security personnel to the border with Belarus because of the migrant crisis. Migrants try to travel through that country to Poland or another EU country, but thousands of them are now stranded in Belarus because of the reinforced borders. Ukraine sees Russia, Belarus’ main ally, as responsible.
Ukraine and Russia have been embroiled in conflict since Russia annexed Crimea in 2014 and then started a war in eastern Ukraine between pro-Russian separatists and the Ukrainian military. Tensions between the countries flare up every now and then, as they do now. Zelensky said late last week that Russia had stationed nearly 100,000 soldiers near the border with Ukraine. As a result, there is a fear of a possible attack.