NEW YORK, March 4 (UPI) -- At an open meeting of the UN Security Council on Monday concerning the situation in Ukraine, Russian Permanent Representative to the UN Vitaly Churkin announced that deposed Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych has requested Russia send armed forces into Ukraine to restore order.
Churkin read a letter attributed to Yanukovych, who sought refuge in Russia after the Ukrainian government voted to impeach him on February 22, that was addressed to Russian President Vladimir Putin and dated March 1.
"As lawfully elected president of Ukraine, I'm addressing President Putin with the request to use the armed forces of Russia to restore order on the territory of Ukraine.
"... events in the Maidan, the illegal seizure of power in Kiev have put Ukraine on the threshold of a civil war. ... In this connection I turn to Russian President Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin with a request to use the armed forces of the Russian Federation for the restoration of the rule of law, peace, law and order, stability and for the protection of the population of Ukraine."
The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs publicized Churkin's presentation of Yanukovych's request at the UNSC via Twitter.
Interestingly, Yanukovych's alleged request for Russian military intervention is at odds with a statement he made on Friday at a press conference from Russia. At Friday's press conference, Yanukokvych told reporters that any Russian military intervention into Ukraine would be "unacceptable. Any. I am not going to ask for military support."
The U.S. and much of the western world have condemned Russia's military intervention into Ukraine as a violation of Ukraine's sovereign territorial integrity.
Former President Yanukovych was removed from power following several months of Euromaidan demonstrations. The anti-government protests began in Kiev in November 2013 after then-President Yanukovych announced Ukraine would not join the EU, a move that was seen as bowing to pressure from Russia and thwarting Ukraine's attempt to advance its economy. Protests continued for months despite the freezing temperatures and threat of violence. Protesters at Euromaidan rallies, led by the government opposition parties, also demanded constitutional reform, a more balanced government power structure, and the removal of the president.
[ITAR-TASS News Agency]
[Interfax Ukraine News Agency]