The New Zealand Herald


Former Ukraine president turns up in Russia – in a 5-star hotel




The Ukrainia hotel, where Viktor Yanukovych is said to be staying, is seen against the twilight Moscow sky. Photo / AP

The Ukrainia hotel, where Viktor Yanukovych is said to be staying, is seen against the twilight Moscow sky. Photo / AP


Ukraine’s fugitive president may be enjoying VIP treatment under Moscow’s protection, said to have been spotted at an opulent five-star hotel and a Kremlin country retreat.


But beneath the surface, the embrace has been chilly: State-run TV has portrayed him as a coward who betrayed those who stood by him.


The conflicting messages indicate that while Russia still considers him the legitimate president of Ukraine, it is far from happy with his handling of Ukraine’s crisis.


Yanukovych made his appeal for protection in a written statement released simultaneously by two Russian state news agencies: “I have to ask Russia to ensure my personal safety from extremists,” he wrote. Shortly afterward, the same agencies quoted an unidentified government official as saying that the request had been “satisfied on the territory of Russia.” The ITAR-Tass and RIA Novosti news agencies often are used by the government to issue official statements……


How did Yanukovych get to Russia?

It is still far from clear. Ukraine issued an arrest warrant for him and border guards were instructed to stop him leaving. Most likely he was evacuated out of Kiev by helicopter at the weekend and taken to pro-Russia Crimea, where Russia has its Black Sea naval base in the city of Sevastopol. He could then have inconspicuously travelled by boat onto Russian territory proper.

“I think he came from Sevastopol on a vessel,” said Konovalov.

From Russia’s Black Sea coast he could have moved on anywhere in the country. Unconfirmed reports had sighted him at a Moscow hotel or an out-of-town health spa.

However Russian news agencies said late Thursday he will give a news conference Friday in the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don which lies close to the Black Sea, making it unlikely that he has been to Moscow……


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Ousted Ukrainian leader Viktor Yanukovych reported to be in Russia

Deposed president who still claims to be leader to hold press conference in southern city of Rostov on Friday
The Russian government sanatorium where Viktor Yanukovych was reportedly staying on Wednesday

The Russian government sanatorium where ousted Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych was reportedly staying on Wednesday night. Photograph: Yuri Kochetkov/EPA

Ukraine’s ousted president, Viktor Yanukovych, has surfaced in Russia and is still claiming to be the legitimate ruler of his country, according to Russian media reports quoting top government sources.

“Given that President Yanukovych appealed to Russian authorities with a request to guarantee his personal safety, that request has been granted on Russian territory,” a government source told Interfax.

An appeal to Ukrainian citizens from Yanukovych said: “My allies and I were being threatened with revenge and so I was forced to ask the Russian authorities to guarantee my personal safety from the actions of extremists.”

Yanukovych said he continues to believe he is the legitimate president of Ukraine and wants to achieve a compromise that would enable Ukraine to exit the crisis. The deposed president called the current session of Ukraine’s parliament – which among other things is electing a new government – “illegitimate”.

“There is an orgy of extremism on the streets of many cities,” wrote the president. “I am certain that in these conditions all the decisions taken [by the parliament] will be ineffective and not carried out.

“In this situation, I officially declare that I am determined to fight to the end for the implementation of important compromise agreements that will bring Ukraine out of the deep political crisis.”

On Thursday evening it was announced that Yanukovych would give a press conference on Friday afternoon in the southern Russian city of Rostov on Don – contradicting earlier claims that he was in the Moscow region staying at a top government sanatorium that has previously hosted officials such as Leonid Brezhnev and Boris Yeltsin. No other details about the press conference were immediately available.


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NBC News


Ousted Viktor Yanukovych: I’m Ukraine’s ‘Legitimate Leader’

MOSCOW – Ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych still sees himself as his country’s legitimate head of state, according to a statement by him published by Russian news agencies on Thursday.

Yanukovych fled his residence near the Kiev on Saturday after months of deadly protests and a deal with his opposition giving many of his powers over to parliament.

NBC News was unable to confirm a report by Russian news organization RBK that Yanukovych had been spotted in Moscow. But in his statement published by Interfax and Itar Tass, the Kremlin-backed former leader said he has asked for protection from Russia “to ensure my personal security from extremists’ actions.”

Interfax quoted a source as saying Russia had granted this appeal. NBC News could not immediately verify that claim.

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