MOSCOW, April 02. /ITAR-TASS/. If presidential elections are held hastily in Ukraine, this could further destabilize the situation in the country, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych said in an interview with the Russian television channel NTV and the Associated Press.
“Referendum is a way toward a constitutional reform. After the constitutional reform, either parliamentary or presidential elections should be held. Haste in making the decision to hold presidential elections is a way toward further destabilization of the situation in the country,” Yanukovych said.
“Any destabilization carries huge threats of a split in society, even a possible split of the state,” he said.
“We need to see how and in which conditions the current rulers came to power. If we look at this from the viewpoint of legality, then of course there is and was no legality or constitutionality here,” Yanukovych said.
“So the legitimacy of these elections remains questionable. I think this will not do good to the state, people or Ukraine’s partners both in the West and in the East,” the Ukrainian president said.
Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych also expressed regret that armed radicals in Ukraine “listen to no one”. They “don’t listen either to the authorities or to the opposition,” Yanukovych said.
“Rampant banditry and [the appearance of] nationalists with fascist roots should have been prevented, we must say. We should have reacted to this much earlier, when we were holding talks [with the opposition],” he said.
However, the Ukrainian president admitted that he felt he was unable to give an order to “take decisive measures against Maidan”.
“My principle is that no power is worth a drop of spilled blood. I have always adhered to that,” he said.
“I never gave any instructions to shoot. And weapons, as far as I know, were never given to the special units that took part in protecting state institutions and buildings. They fulfilled the functions envisioned by the law,” Yanukovich said.
According to him, radical opposition activists failed to implement the agreements reached February 21 between Yanukovych and the opposition, and opened fire on Maidan from opposition-controlled buildings when Yanukovych ordered law enforcers to retreat from Maidan and start sending special units back to their bases.
“The radical part of Maidan responded to our actions with shooting,” Yanukovych said.
Maidan is the name for downtown Kiev's Independence Square, which is the symbol of Ukrainian protests. The word “Maidan” is also used as a collective name for anti-government protests in Ukraine.
Ukraine is in political turmoil. Violent anti-government protests, which started in November 2013 when the country suspended the signing of an association agreement with the European Union in favor of closer ties with Russia, resulted in a coup in February 2014.
President Viktor Yanukovych had to leave Ukraine citing security concerns in February. The Ukrainian parliament appointed its speaker, Oleksandr Turchynov, as acting president of the country and approved a new government led by Arseniy Yatsenyuk, the leader of the parliamentary faction of the Batkivshchina party. The Verkhovna Rada also set early presidential elections for May 25.
The Ukrainian crisis deepened when the Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol, a city with a special status on the Crimean Peninsula, where most residents are Russians, signed agreements to reunify with Russia on March 18 after a referendum two days earlier in which an overwhelming majority of Crimeans voted to secede from Ukraine and join the Russian Federation.