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Ousted Ukrainian president says he was was not overthrown

Deposed Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych addressed a news conference on Friday, and claimed that he would "continue to fight for the future of Ukraine against those who ... are attempting to replace the power."
By JC Finley   |   Feb. 28, 2014 at 9:44 AM   |   Comments

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ROSTOV, Russia, Feb. 28 (UPI) -- Speaking Russian -- not Ukrainian -- at a news conference in Russia on Friday, deposed Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych claimed he was forced to flee his homeland and was not overthrown.

He said that while traveling within Ukraine last weekend, he was "shot at virtually from all sides."

On Saturday, Ukraine's parliament voted to impeach Yanukovych and on Monday an arrest warrant was issued for his involvement in "mass killings of civilians" during the Euromaidan protests that ultimately toppled his government. An interim government was sworn in on Thursday.

"I intend to continue the fight for the future of Ukraine against those who, with fear and with terror, are attempting to replace the power. Nobody has overthrown me. I was compelled to leave Ukraine due to a direct threat to my life and my nearest and dearest."

At the press conference, Yanukovych commented on the clashes between pro-Russian and pro-Ukrainian interim government groups and the former's seizure of government buildings in the mostly pro-Russian Crimea region. He said that any Russian military intervention would be "unacceptable. Any. I am not going to ask for military support."

The whereabouts of the deposed president were unknown after he drove off "in an unknown direction" on Saturday while in the Crimea region, although there was significant speculation he had fled to Russia. On Friday, Russian officials said that Yanukovych had been flown to a military airport in Rostov, Russia.


[CNN]
[Interfax Ukraine News Agency]

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