|His safety assured by Russia, Yanukovych tells Ukraine he will ‘fight to the end’
Moscow granted the deposed Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych protection “on the territory of Russia,'' shortly after the fugitive leader sought help from the Kremlin, according to an official quoted by Russian news agencies.
(Pictured, Russian President Vladimir Putin with Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych during a signing ceremony at the Kremlin in Moscow on December 17, 2013).
Earlier, Yanukovych broke five days of silence to declare himself to still be Ukraine's head of state, and said he will fight to the end.
He issued a defiant statement through Russia's three main news agencies, saying he had asked Russia to ensure his personal security.
In the strongly-worded statement, Yanukovych said he did not consider his ousting last weekend to be legal and believed he was still Ukrainian president.
“I, Viktor Fyodorovich Yanukovych, address the people of Ukraine. I still consider myself to be the legal head of the Ukrainian state,'' said Yanukovych.
“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.’’
He added that the latest decisions by the Ukrainian parliament, who have appointed an acting president in his place, “do not have legitimate character.''
However Yanukovych added that he was not ordering the army to intervene.
“As the president, I did not let the armed forces of Ukraine to interfere in internal political events. I order this now as well.''
“In this situation I formally announce my decision to fight to the end for the implementation of important compromise agreements to take Ukraine out of deep political crisis.''
He applauded the pro-Russia Black Sea peninsula of Crimea for showing opposition to the new authorities.
“I call on the immediate return of the situation in our country to the framework of the constitution.
“Right now it is becoming evident that the people in southwestern Ukraine and the Crimea are not accepting the anarchy and de-facto lawlessness in the country, when ministers are chosen by a crowd on a square.''
Yanukovych arrived on Monday evening and stayed briefly in the Hotel Ukraina in Moscow before going outside Moscow to Barvikha health resort, which belongs to the Kremlin, Russian news website RBK said citing its sources.
The Barvikha sanatorium is run by the presidential administration's property department. The spokesman for this department, Viktor Khrekov, told The Associated Press today that he has no information.
The RBK report was impossible to confirm, but security at the Ukraina Hotel was unusually heavy late Wednesday, with police watching from parked vehicles outside and guards posted throughout the lobby. Some of Yanukovych's allies, also reported to have been at the hotel, may have still been there.—AP/AFP