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Bridget Johnson

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February 28, 2014 - 9:25 am

Ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych told reporters in Rostov-on-Don, Russia, today that his government was overtaken by “pro-nationalist youths, who represent an absolute minority” and “pro-fascist activists” moved in.

“It is time for me to say that I’m going to continue fighting for Ukraine’s future against those who try to conquer it with fear and terror. I was forced to leave Ukraine because of an immediate threat to my life and the lives of people close to me,” Yanukovych said. “…It will be difficult to exit this tough crisis and turbulence that the country is going through as the result of it. It’s a result of the irresponsible policy of the West that encouraged Maidan (protests).”

Yanukovych said last week’s agreement reached between his government and opposition forces — a pact for which Washington partially took credit as European foreign ministers negotiated the terms — “gave us some hope,” but then it descended into “chaos, terror.”

Maidan leaders demanded the ouster of Yanukovych after the agreement was inked because it didn’t call for elections until fall, bringing little justice to the dozens of protesters shot by Yanukovych’s snipers.

“I would like to say sorry to the veterans, to the Ukrainian people that I did not have the power to stop the chaos that is happening in Ukraine right now. First of all, I have to say I did not run, I moved from Kyiv to the city of Kharkiv. During my move I was shot at from automatic weapons. The car that covered me was effectively shot at from all sides,” Yanukovych said. “I was not leaving alone, and did not run. I wanted to meet with activists of the Party of Regions and civic organizations at the forum that was supposed to be held in Kharkiv. We did arrive late there. When we came to Kharkiv, early in the morning Feb. 22, the Security Service received information that the radical groups are coming to the city.”

He said he was forced to flee from the pro-Russia stronghold to Donetsk and then “came to find temporary shelter” in Russia. These movements by car and plane occurred while Washington said they didn’t know where he was.

“In Russia, I arrived thanks to the patriotic officers who performed their duty and helped me save my life. Second, I have not met with Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin. I have not, after arriving to the territory of Russia. We spoke on the phone. We agreed that as soon as the Russian president has an opportunity to meet with me, we shall meet. I said I wasn’t just cheated, I was cynically cheated,” Yanukovych continued.

He said he “will never recognize” his ouster by parliament, in which the majority of his party turned against him.

“If the president did not resign, according to constitution, if he is alive – and as you can see I am alive – and if he was not impeached, he is still acting president. The show in parliament, with violence against deputies, I cannot recognize and will never recognize.”

When asked what Moscow’s role should be in all of this, Yanukovych replied, “The agreements between Ukraine and Russia, within the framework of those agreements Russia has a right to act. I think Russia must act, and knowing the character of Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, I am surprised that he is so restrained and silent. Those agreements we have with Russia, Russia has a right to act.”

(Full transcript and video can be found at the Kyiv Post)

Ukraine accused Russia of staging a military invasion Friday after gunmen seized control of airports in the Crimean peninsula. Russian military also blocked off the headquarters of the Ukrainian navy in Sevastopol. Russia Today claimed they’re just “self-defense squads” helping keep the peace.

Secretary of State John Kerry said just yesterday that he’d received assurances from the Kremlin that it wouldn’t be an aggressor despite a Russian flag hoisted above a parliament building in the Crimean peninsula and a massive military buildup along the border.

Opposition leaders, who have charged Yanukovych with murder, have asked Interpol to put him in the database of persons wanted for crimes against humanity.

“I am sure that Yanukovych should be returned to Ukraine. Many deaths and much blood are on the hands of Yanukovych and it must answer for it,” Vitali Klitschko said.

Bridget Johnson is a career journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.

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All Comments   (3)
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Well, Putin's got his useful puppet in Yanukovych. Meanwhile, Putin's giving Kerry and Obama the one fingered salute.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
Exactly. Yanukovych is useful to Putin if he needs a puppet to rule over a Ukraine after a Russian invasion. That's what happened to Mussolini after he was overthrown by the Italians but then installed as leader of the part of Italy controlled by his ally Hitler. Of course that didn't end well for Mussolini. He soon realized he had no real power and wound up being shot then hung from a meathook (not a lamp post as generally believed) by his rivals.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
Well, Kerry said not to worry.

And Obama, Hagel, Kerry, Clinton are such international powerhouses, they have managed to ...um...well...arrest and jail an innocent man for the murder of our Ambassador, allowed Syria to thumb their noses at the non-existent red line, put Egypt in a state of chaos, destroyed Iraq, helped Iran get out of sanctions and paved the way for their nuclear bomb.

They jackpotted Israel, abandoned Poland and looked the other way in Georgia.

Thank heavens we have The Republicans. Who else would send a Stern Note or tickle the fascist regime with a feather?

I wouldn't want to be a field goal kicker on Team America. The Fascist Party formerly knows as Democrats keep moving the goal posts. The Stupid Party keeps lowering the cross bar.

It would be like trying to kick toward a limbo bar on Mars.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
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