KIEV, Ukraine, Feb. 24 (UPI) -- An arrest warrant for embattled Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych was issued Monday.
Acting Interior Minister Arsen Avakov announced via his Facebook page, "As of this morning, a criminal case on mass killings of civilians has been opened. Yanukovych and several other officials have been placed on the wanted list."
Approximately 50 senior Ukrainian law enforcement officials are also under investigation "for organizing mass killings" of anti-government demonstrators in Kiev, according to newly appointed Prosecutor General Oleh Makhnitsky.
The Ukrainian president departed Kiev by helicopter on February 21 for a Party of Regions congress in Kharkiv. As the political tides turned against him in Kiev, he traveled by helicopter on February 22 to Donetsk airport, where he attempted to board a private plane but was denied by the border guard service. Late in the evening of February 22, Yanukovych departed his residence in Donetsk for Crimea and arrived on February 23. He checked into "a private sanatorium" in Crimea, where he learned that parliament had appointed Oleksandr Turchynov acting president and that both his recently appointed Interior minister and head of the Ukrainian Security Service to Crimea had been removed from power.
The president then left for the Belbek airport but stopped at a private residence and asked his security guards whether they would continue onward with him or "stay there." To those who remained, he informed them he was renouncing state protection and turned over all state weapons. Accompanied by Andriy Kliuyev, the head of presidential administration, the president drove off "in an unknown direction in three cars, turning off all communication devices."
The whereabouts of the wanted president are not currently known.
[Interfax Ukraine News Agency]