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Former Ukraine's president reveals his only mistake during Maidan crisis

Yanukovich says failure to introduce martial law during Maidan events was his only mistake during the tragic 2014 events in Ukraine
Former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich Valery Matytsin/TASS
Former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich
© Valery Matytsin/TASS

ROSTOV-ON-DON, November 15. /TASS/. Standing behind the disruption of Friday's session in the Svyatoshinsky district court in Kiev are the same people who bear responsibility for committing crimes during Maidan rallies in February 2014, former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich told a news conference in Rostov-on-Don.

"The actions that were undertaken in Ukraine today to block the court session have the same masterminds who, in our opinion, have a direct connection with the crimes committed on the Maidan," he said.  

"My main error was that I failed or didn't find enough ability in myself to sign a decree on brining in troops and introducing martial law," he said.

"This was the only way to stop the radical forces but I didn't resort to bloodletting," Yanukovich said. "It may be really difficult to admit the fact to day, but I wouldn't have able to sign this (decree) and if we go back, I'm obliged to say I couldn't do it today either."

Yanukovich has demanded investigation of crimes committed against law enforcers killed during Maidan riots in the winter of 2014.

"Why are the cases of those who were protecting law and order not investigated? All know that shooting was conducted from the buildings controlled by Maidan activists. How can these events be considered separately? Some cases are investigated, others - not. Some are proclaimed heroes, others - on the contrary," he told reporters. 

Deposed president denies he gave order to open fire at protesters 

Yanukovich has denied Kiev’s allegations that there was an order to open gunfire at Euromaidan activists:

"Naturally, there were no such orders. I am principally against bloodshed," he told a news conference on Friday.

It was confirmed by former commander of Ukraine’s internal troops, Svyatoslav Shulyak, who was present at the news conference. "There is an obsessive idea about such orders. There is doctrine which governs routine service of troops," he explained. "There were violations of law and order during the Maidan events and troops were tasked to maintain order. They needed no special order from either president or me to do their job."

He stressed that there could be no such order "as the head of state has nothing to do with the structures performing such duties."

In his words, there are strict regulations of what law enforcers are to do in case of threats to people, society or property. "In such cases, under the field manual, it is necessary to warn, if the warning is ignored, it is necessary to detain, in case of resistance, it is necessary to take to a police station, if there is a threat to life, they (law enforcers) must use weapons," Shulyak said. "So, don’t indulge in allegation about any fictional orders. In military service, all everyday duties are clearly defined."

When asked whether it was his personal order to give weapons to provocateurs, Shulyak said, "I couldn’t have ordered this as to give such an order is to sign a death sentence to oneself."

Donbass dilemma 

There could be no solution to the Donbass problem without granting a broad autonomy to that region, Ukraine’s former president has emphasized: 

"Ukraine’s integrity should be observed. But I don’t think this problem can be resolved without granting a broad autonomy to Donbass."

Yanukovich said all he could think about was putting an end to the war in Donbass, not about his comeback to politics.

"I dream that the war in Ukraine, in Donbass, my homeland, is stopped as soon as possible, that id revives from the ashes of the war, that people return there. Nothing else," he confessed.

At the same time, ex-president firmly stated that Donbass should remain a Ukrainian territory and the country’s territorial integrity should be preserved.

"I am all for preserving Ukraine’s territorial integrity, I believe Donbass should remain part of Ukraine."

Crimea and Maidan provocations 

Crimea’s reunification with Russia was a consequence of provocative actions of Ukrainian radicals during Euromaidan, Yanukovich assumed.

"The Crimean developments are the result of Maidan provocations," he said. "There would have been no referendum [in Crimea on reunification with Russia] but for Maidan provocations."

However the former president said he was not happy about Crimea’s separation from Ukraine but noted these developments were no surprise for him.