Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich at the press conference in southern Russia, appearing in public for the first time since he fled Kiev amid bloody riots.
Viktor Yanukovich, Ukrainian President, speech from Russia, at his press-conference in southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don ~ 28 February 2014 ~
FULL SPEECH IN ENGLISH
“No one has ousted me,” Yanukovich told reporters. “I had to leave Ukraine because of a direct threat to my life and the lives of my family.” According to Yanukovich, fake-nationalist of Maidan are representing an absolute minority of Ukrainians, but took over power in Ukraine with violence and threatening people.
He described the situation in Ukraine as “complete lawlessness,” “terror” and “chaos”, saying that the politicians, including MPs, have been threatened and are working under threats.
It has nothing to do with the unity government that was negotiated with the opposition, he said.
The violence and deaths in Ukraine are the “result of the irresponsible politics of the West, which has encouraged Maidan,” Yanukovich stressed. US and other Western countries’ representatives “must take full responsibility” for the fact that the agreement between Yanukovich and the opposition leaders was not held, the ousted president stressed.
Western powers’ “patronage” of Maidan makes them directly responsible for the situation in Ukraine, he claimed. The current Ukrainian parliament is “not legitimate,” and the people in power are spreading the propaganda of violence, Yanukovich asserted. When asked if he feels ashamed of his actions, Yanukovich replied that he feels ashamed and sorry for “not having been able to stabilize the situations and stop the mayhem” in Ukraine.
“I want to apologize to the Ukrainian people for what has happened in Ukraine and that I lacked strength to maintain stability.” Yanukovich also apologized to the Ukrainian riot police, Berkut, for having to “suffer” while doing their duty of maintaining peace and order.
Police officers had to stand their ground while rioters set them on fire with petrol bombs, he reminded.
Yanukovich stressed he had not given any order for police to shoot live fire until the rioters started using firearms, putting the officers’ lives under threat.
According to Yanukovich, the early Ukrainian elections announced for May 25 are “illegitimate” and he will not take part in them.
However, he said that he will “remain in politics.”
Crimea must remain a part of Ukraine while maintaining a broad autonomy, Yanukovich stressed. He ruled out any possibility that he will ask Russia for military help to resolve the situation there.
Yanukovich said he understands the concerns of Crimeans, who want to “protect their homes and families” from “extremists.” When asked why he chose to leave Ukraine for Rostov-on-Don,
Yanukovich said that he has “an old friend there,” who can provide him with a “temporary safe haven.”
Yanukovich made it to Russia thanks to “patriotically-minded officers,” who helped to “save his life.” He has not met Russian President Vladimir Putin, but they have already talked over the phone.
Yanukovich received a lot of questions on Russia’s role and possible actions in the Ukrainian crisis. While saying “it is not correct” to tell Moscow what to do, Yanukovich said he believes “Russia cannot abandon Ukraine to its fate and should use all possible means to prevent chaos and terror in its neighboring country.”
Yanukovich also said he was “categorically against any intervention into Ukraine and breach of its territorial integrity.” There remains, however, a chance for the country to change its course and not to slip into chaos, Yanukovich believes.
He said that he will return to Ukraine as soon as he receives “international safety guarantees.” The ousted president refused to comment on Ukrainian parliament’s intention to try him in the International Criminal Court, saying that an independent investigation has to be carried out first.
However, he stressed that “the scenario of bloodshed… was not drafted in Ukraine.”
“The truth will prevail,” Yanukovich said in an emotional conclusion to his comments to journalists, urging the politicians that have seized power in Kiev to “leave” for the sake of the Ukrainian people.
Yanukovich left Ukraine’s capital amid the worst surge of violence in the country’s post-Soviet history, which left dozens of people dead and hundreds injured.
The new regime immediately capitalized on his absence from the capital, voting to strip Yanukovich of his powers and announcing early elections for May 25.