KIEV, Ukraine, Feb. 19 (UPI) -- Ukrainian President Victor Yanukovych blamed the opposition for the recent eruption of violence in a televised address, saying the opposition ignores democracy.
"Politicians resorting to pogroms, arson, and murder have tried to seize power," said Yanukovych in his address, "The opposition leaders have ignored the basic foundation of democracy. Power is not gained in the streets or maidans but electoral districts."
Yanukovych has been asked multiple times to step down during the Euromaidan protests because of his decision to further tie the country to Russia and move away from a relationship with the EU. When the protests erupted Tuesday, clashes with police left 26 dead with the death toll rising. Yanukovych says this is primarily the fault of the opposition: "A line had been crossed when they called people to arms. This is a grave breaking of the law."
He close the address with asking the opposition to cease their resistance: "I call upon the leaders of the opposition one more time who claim to be seeking a peaceful solution to the crisis, separate yourself from the radical elements that seek bloodshed and conflict with the law enforcement agencies."