Viktor Yanukovych has made an address to the people of Ukraine to declare that he still considers himself the legitimately elected president of Ukraine. In the meantime, citing a Russian government source, Interfax-Ukraine news service reports that Yanukovych is being provided safe haven in Russia.
“I, Viktor Fedorovych Yanukovych, am addressing the people of Ukraine. I still believe myself to be the legitimate head of the Ukrainian state elected in a free vote by Ukrainian citizens,” says the address obtained by Interfax news service and other news agencies on Feb. 27.
The Kyiv Post could not independently confirm the authenticity of the statement.
Yanukovych, whom the Ukrainian opposition declared as having abdicated from power and now a fugitive fleeing an arrest warrant charging him with the mass murder of nearly 100 protesters, said he has asked the Russian authorities to ensure his personal security.
“Threats of reprisals are coming to me and my associates. I have to ask the authorities of the Russian Federation to ensure my personal security from extremists’ actions,” Yanukovych said in the statement.
A Russian government source confirmed the request: “Considering that President Yanukovych has appealed to the Russian authorities to ensure his personal security, I am informing you that this request has been granted on the territory of the Russian Federation.”
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(Yanukovch and Russian president Vladimir Putin in Moscow in December 2013. Photo: president.gov.ua)