Former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych finally emerged from the shadows for the first time since parliament ousted him on February 22. He held a news conference on Friday from Russia and blamed the West for all the problems in Ukraine.
Yanukovych said he is still the rightful president of Ukraine and will not stop fighting for his country. Ukrainians took to the streets in late November after he turned down a trade deal with the European Union in favor of a $15 billion bailout from Russia. He claimed the West indulged the protesters in Independence Square in Kiev and he is not responsible for the deaths of over 70 people because he did not tell police to fire upon the protesters.
He also said he was not overthrown and did not flee. He left Kiev because he was attacked.
“In Kiev I was shot at by automatic rifles. The car that was covering me was shot at from all sides. I was not running away, I was in the car to meet the representatives of local parties in Kharkiv.
“We arrived late into the night because we had to do it. When we arrived in Kharkiv, on the early morning of Feb 22, the security service started to receive information that in Kharkiv were arriving radical groups.
He will not take part in the May 25 presidential elections in Ukraine because they are illegal. He said the new government is illegal, which echoes the same thoughts of Russia’s Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, but he will not ask Russia to take military action.
Yanukovych: “Any military actions are unacceptable. Will not ask Russia for it” pic.twitter.com/8TEFb0m3RW
– Maxim Eristavi (@MaximEristavi) February 28, 2014
Parliament voted in a new cabinet on Thursday amid turmoil in the Crimean peninsula. The autonomous republic within Ukraine declared allegiance to Russia after Yanukovych was thrown out. Gunmen stormed government buildings and raised the Russian flag.