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Assaults on Paramedics Worry Moscow Officials

Moscow's health department has voiced its concerns over the increasing number of attacks on ambulance workers in the capital.

"The department is worried about the ongoing criminal aggression toward ambulance staff by drunk citizens," Interfax reported, citing the head of Moscow department of health, Georgy Golukhov.

On average, five to 10 acts of violence are reported weekly, most of which are are drug and alcohol fueled. Most alarming of all is that the attackers often avoid criminal charges, Golukhov said.

Six incidents were registered during the week of April 8-15, the health department's spokeswoman Yelina Nikolayeva told Interfax.

"One patient attacked a doctor who was responding to a call for assistance, another threatened a whole team of paramedics with a knife, and a third tried to steal drugs and medication," said Nikolayeva, adding that ambulances were also damaged on three occasions.

In 2011, following an attack on an ambulance in Kemerovo, the region's Governor Aman Tuleyev proposed legislation allowing all ambulance officers to carry self-defense weapons such as guns and pepper spray. Tuleyev's proposals never became law.

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