FoxNews on February 24, 2014, reported that Ukraine’s acting interior minister announced that an arrest warrant had been issued for that country’s president, Viktor Yanukovych. Excerpts below:
In a statement on his official Facebook page, Arsen Avakhov wrote that Yanukovych and several other officials were wanted on charges of massacring peaceful demonstrators in violence that engulfed Ukraine’s capital city, Kiev, earlier this week.
Avakhov says Yanukovych arrived in the pro-Russian Black Sea peninsular region of Crimea on February 23 and relinquished his official security detail before driving off to an unknown location.
Ukrainian law enforcement agencies said earlier that they have no information about the whereabouts of Yanukovych, who reportedly was seen in the port city of Sevastopol, home of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet.
After signing an agreement with the opposition to end a conflict that turned deadly, Yanukovych fled the capital for eastern Ukraine.
Opposition lawmaker Volodym Kurennoy said on his Facebook page that he had unconfirmed information that the president had been arrested in Crimea.
Ukrainain news portal Liga.net reports that Sevastopol residents saw Yanukovych in the company of Russian marines. The claim could not be independently verified.
The speaker of parliament assumed the president’s powers February 23…
Tensions have been mounting in Crimea, where pro-Russian politicians are organizing rallies and forming protest units and have been demanding autonomy from Kiev. Russia maintains a big naval base in Crimea that has tangled relations between the countries for two decades.
Calls are mounting in Ukraine to put Yanukovych on trial after a tumultuous presidency in which he amassed powers, enriched his allies and cracked down on protesters.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.