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ROSTOV-ON-DON, February 28. /ITAR-TASS/. Fugitive Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich on Friday urged the current authorities of his country to stop lawlessness.
“You will bear responsibility for that, and the end is clear,” Yanukovich said at a news conference in the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don.
Ukraine has seen its legitimate leader Yanukovich ousted in anti-government protests that took a violent turn on February 18. The country’s unicameral parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, then appointed an interim head of state and approved a new government.
“In conclusion, I would like to address those who, so to say, call themselves the legitimate authorities of Ukraine now. I would like to say once again: come to senses! Come to senses and stop this lawlessness, you will bear responsibility for that,” he said.
“The people of Ukraine will never agree to live with you in such a country,” he said. “That’s why I want to say: leave and don’t allow greater lawlessness and grief to the Ukrainian people.”
“I would like to ask for forgiveness all who have suffered and who are suffering. I will do all I can until the end of my life. In order to be with the Ukrainian people - not the scum, nationalists and Banderovites [followers of Stepan Bandera - a nationalist leader in Western Ukraine in the 20th century], but with the people of Ukraine,” the ousted leader said.
“The lives of those people who passed away have always been and will be dear to me. If I was in Ukraine now, I would bow to each of them and meet with each family, regardless of who stood where, on which side of the barricades,” he said.
“I am convinced that there is no Ukrainian nation for the current authorities, they think these are wood chips,” Yanukovich added. “But the truth will surely come and prevail!”
Anti-government protests that sometimes turned into riots started in Ukraine in November 2013, when the authorities refused to sign an association agreement with the European Union at the Eastern Partnership summit in Vilnius, opting for closer ties with Russia instead.
A new wave of riots started February 18 and eventually caused President Yanukovich to flee his country. The Verkhovna Rada appointed its new speaker, Alexander Turchinov, as acting president. Turchinov on Thursday signed a decree to appoint Arseny Yatsenyuk, the leader of the parliamentary faction of the Batkivshchina party, as the country’s prime minister.
Yanukovich has called the developments “a coup.”
He also told journalists in Rostov-on-Don on Friday that he still remains the legitimately elected president of Ukraine.
A total of 82 people have been killed and 881 have turned to Kiev’s medical institutions for help, with over 592 of them hospitalized, since the start of the latest violence on February 18. A total of 87 people have died since November 30, 2013, when mass protests started in Kiev, according to the Ukrainian Health Ministry.