[QODLink]
Europe

Yanukovich seeks sanctuary in Russia

Deposed leader says he is still head of state, with reports from Moscow indicating Yanukovich has fled Ukraine.

Last updated: 27 Feb 2014 15:16
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Ukrainians have endured months of violence, political uncertainty and economic upheaval [EPA]

Viktor Yanukovich still regards himself as the president of Ukraine and wants Russia to protect him from the "actions of extremists", according to Russian news reports, which also indicate that he has left Ukraine.

The ousted leader, who fled the capital Kiev last weekend, broke his five-day silence with remarks reported on Thursday.

In a statement issued to the three agencies, the 63-year-old said: "I still consider myself to be the legal head of the Ukrainian state. There have been threats of reprisals towards me and my allies. I am compelled to ask the Russian Federation to ensure my personal security from the actions of extremists."

An unnamed source, who was quoted by all the Russian news agencies, implied that Yanukovich had left Ukraine and was in Russia, according to Reuters news agency.

"After Yanukovich appealed to the authorities of the Russian Federation to ensure his personal security, we can say that this request was satisfied on Russian territory". Russian TV said he was in Russian territory, but his precise whereabouts are unconfirmed.

In his statement Yanukovich added that decisions by the Ukrainian parliament - the appointment of an acting president and a cabinet - did "not have legitimate character." He said that while he would not order the armed forces to intervene, he would "fight to the end" for measures to take Ukraine out of its "deep political crisis".

His remarks came as tensions escalated in Crimea, where armed gunmen entered government buildings overnight, and led to a fiery exchange between Moscow and Kiev.

273

Source:
Agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
Take an immersive look at the challenges facing the war-torn country as US troops begin their withdrawal.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Featured
Spirits are high in Scotland's 'Whisky Capital of the World' with one distillery thirsty for independence.
President Poroshenko arrives in Washington on Thursday with money and military aid on his mind, analysts say.
Early players in private medicine often focused on volume over quality, turning many Chinese off for-profit care.
Al Jazeera asked people across Scotland what they think about the prospect of splitting from the United Kingdom.
Blogger critical of a lack of government transparency faces defamation lawsuit from Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
join our mailing list