For the first time since going into hiding last week, the ousted President Viktor Yanukovych surfaced at a press conference. In the press conference he claimed to have been threatened, and that is the only reason he left his position of power. He remains infuriated at what occurred. The timing is interesting, given the internal threat that Ukraine is taking actions against in Crimea.
Ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych said Friday at a news conference in Russia that he was not overthrown but was forced to flee under threat to his life.
“I intend to continue the fight for the future of Ukraine against those who, with fear and with terror, are attempting to replace the power. Nobody has overthrown me. I was compelled to leave Ukraine due to a direct threat to my life and my nearest and dearest,” he said, speaking Russian, not Ukrainian.
Yanukovych, making his first public appearance since his ouster Saturday, said the newly appointed interim government was not legitimate and did not represent the majority of Ukraine’s 45 million citizens.
He accused the interim authorities in Ukraine of propagating violence, saying that they were responsible for the bloodshed last week, in which dozens of protesters died in clashes with security forces, including snipers.
“I never gave any orders to shoot,” he said, adding that he sought peace and that the security forces only took up arms when their own lives were at risk.