SOCHI, October 24. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin admitted on Friday that Russia had helped Ukraine’s former President Viktor Yanukovych to move to Crimea to avoid persecution by Ukrainian opposition forces.
“I am not going to conceal that we helped him (Yanukovych) to move to Crimea where he stayed for several days. Crimea was still part of Ukraine at that time,” Putin told the participants in the Valdai discussion club, recalling the days when the key phase of the Ukraine crisis started in Kiev.
After that, the events in Kiev started unfolding quickly and violently. “There were murders. People were burnt alive. Someone entered the office of the Party of Regions and killed all the technical staff that was in. They were simply burnt alive in the basement,” Putin said, adding it was senseless for Yanukovych to return to Kiev under such circumstances.
“Everybody forgot about agreements with the opposition signed by foreign ministers and about our telephone conversations,” the Russian leader went on to say. “Honestly, he asked me to take him out to Russia, and that is what we did,” Putin said in conclusion.
Head of the Russian Federal Migration Service (FMS) Konstantin Romodanovsky said on Thursday he knew nothing about alleged getting of Russian citizenship or asylum by Ukraine’s former President Viktor Yanukovych who was ousted amid mass protests in February.
On October 9, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich also told reporters he was not informed about this. “I cannot tell you anything. I don’t know. Granting citizenship is not the prerogative of the Foreign Ministry. In this case I cannot enlighten you.” “I’ve seen the related media reports, but would not comment on them,” the diplomat added.
Russian presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov said on October 3 he as well knew nothing of granting Russian citizenship to the Ukrainian former president. “This information is unavailable to me,” he told journalists who asked him to comment on the media allegations on this issue.
The media reports gave a link to the Facebook page of Ukrainian Interior Minister’s adviser Anton Gerashchenko that said Yanukovych was allegedly granted Russian citizenship.
Moscow agreed to ensure the personal security of Viktor Yanukovych when the Ukrainian president asked Russia to do so a few months ago, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said on June 5 when asked why Yanukovych has been in Russia for over three months.
“Some time ago Viktor Yanukovych asked to ensure his personal security, and such guarantees and opportunities were granted,” Lukashevich said. “As regards the three-month period, I need to specify that with our legislation experts.”
The Kiev District Commercial court has ruled to confiscate 135 hectares of land, occupied by the Mezhigorje residence of ex-president Viktor Yanukovych, and return the confiscated land to the state, the press service of the Kiev regional prosecutor's said on Wednesday.
In February, the Ukrainian Rada ruled to return the Mezhigorje complex, earlier privatized by Viktor Yanukovych, into state ownership.