Ousted Ukraine President Yanukovych appears in Russia, vows to fight back

Mr. Yanukovych said he was surprised President Putin of Russia did not act on the crisis in Ukraine

Ousted Ukrainian president, Viktor Yanukovych, has vowed to continue to struggle “for the future of Ukraine” as he remained the country’s legitimate president.

At a press conference which was his first public appearance since his removal a week ago, Mr. Yanukovych he was “not overthrown”, but was compelled to leave Ukraine after threats to his life.

He said the “irresponsible policies of the west” were to blame for the crisis that almost has driven his country to breakup.

The focus of unrest in Ukraine has shifted to the Russian-majority Crimea region since Mr Yanukovych was ousted by Western-leaning opponents last Saturday.

Early Friday, unknown armed men in military uniforms surrounded the main airports in Crimea. Ukraine’s interim interior minister accused Russia of sending troops to “invade” his country.

He said he has yet to see the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, but has spoken to him on the telephone. Mr. Putin’s failure to act on the crisis in Ukraine was surprising, he added.

“I intend to continue to struggle for the future of Ukraine, against terror and fear,” Mr Yanukovych told the news conference in the Russian city of Rostov-on-Don.

“What’s going on now is lawlessness, lack of authority, and terror. Decisions in parliament were taken under duress.”

He apologised to the Ukrainian people for not having “enough strength to keep stability” and for allowing “lawlessness in this country”.

He said he arrived in Russia “thanks to a patriotically minded young officer” and was given refuge in Rostov, near the Ukrainian border, by an old friend.

Mr Yanukovych said he would return to Ukraine “as soon as there are guarantees for my security and that of my family”.

The ousted leader was this week put on the wanted list for suspected premeditated murder during the three-month massive protests, acting Prosecutor General, Oleh Makhnytsky, said.

“I can say that Yanukovych is a suspect. He was put on the wanted list. He is wanted for mass murders of people with aggravating circumstances,” he told reporters.

The Ukrainian parliament approved a bill earlier on Tuesday to bring a case of alleged massacre of protesters to The Hague-based International Court of Justice.

In a statement, the parliament requested the court to identify and bring to justice those Ukrainian officials involved in the crackdown on protesters.

Ukrainian law enforcement agencies used “physical pressure, special warfare and weapons “against peaceful protesters, causing the deaths of more than 100 people”, the statement said.

The statement also said that the use of water cannons by police against protesters at temperatures of minus 10 degrees Celsius, constituted torture.
On Saturday, the parliament passed a resolution to dismiss Yanukovych from his post and set an early election for May 25.


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