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AKIPRESS.COM - Ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych lashed out at the West on Friday for its support for what he described as the 'violent usurpers' that seized power in Ukraine over the weekend, reported RIA Novosti.
Looking nervous while addressing reporters in the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don, Yanukovych rejected suggestions that he had been overthrown and insisted he had been forced to flee Ukraine under duress.
“Power in Ukraine was seized by nationalists, neo-Fascist youths that represent an absolute minority of the people,” he said. “I was not overthrown. I was forced to leave Ukraine under immediate threat to my life and the lives of my loved ones.”
Yanukovych, who was making his first appearance in public since leaving the Ukrainian capital, Kiev, over the weekend, said those currently in power were fully to blame for the crisis he said was now gripping the country.
“I lay the responsibility for this on those now in power … and the representatives of the West, including the United States, who gave their support to the Maidan,” he said, referring to the square that served as the focal point of the protest movement that spearheaded his unseating.
On Saturday, the erstwhile opposition took control over parliament and together with disaffected deputies from the ex-ruling Party of Regions voted to impeach Yanukovych.
The impeachment vote came one day after opposition parties signed an agreement with Yanukovych on a political settlement to form a unity government, call early elections and reform the constitution.
That proposed arrangement was superseded by events, however, when the opposition occupied the Verkhova Rada, Ukraine’s parliament, as police disappeared from the center of Kiev.
Yanukovych said he did not recognize the authority of parliament.
“I believe the Verkhovna Rada is illegitimate, and I still believe that [Friday’s] agreement was not fulfilled,” he said. “If it had been fulfilled, or if it is fulfilled, it would to a considerable extent calm the situation and begin the process of settling the political crisis in Ukraine.”
“This is the only way out of the impasse to which we have been brought by the radicals,” he said.
Interim authorities have called elections for May 25, but Yanukovych said he would not acknowledge the legitimacy of that planned vote.
“It is illegal, and I will not be taking part,” he said.
Yanukovych said at the press conference that he never gave any orders to fire on rioters.
“I never gave the police any orders to shoot. The police, as you know, were unarmed until the very last moment. When there was a danger that they could be killed, that is when they began shooting. It was then that the police began to take up arms,” he said.