Ukraine Parliament Ousts Yanukovich, TymoshenkoFreed
Kiev – Ukraine’s parliament voted to remove President Viktor Yanukovich after three months of street protests, while his arch-rival YuliaTymoshenko hailed opposition demonstrators as “heroes” in an emotional speech in Kiev after she was released from jail. Yanukovich abandoned the capital to the opposition on Saturday and denounced what he described as a coup after several days of bloodshed this week that claimed 82 lives.
His precise whereabouts on Sunday were still unknown. But residents in the eastern town of Donetsk, his stronghold, said that security had been reinforced along the main approach road to his private home in the town, suggesting he might be there. Supporters cheered former prime ministerTymoshenko as she left the hospital where she had been held. When she spoke later in Kiev, her reception was mixed.
Her release marks a radical transformation in the former Soviet republic of 46 million people. Removal of the pro-Russian Yanukovich should pull Ukraine away from Moscow’s orbit and closer to Europe. “This is a political knockout,” opposition leader and retired world boxing champion VitalyKlitschko told reporters.
In a television interview the station said was conducted in the eastern city of Kharkiv, Yanukovich said he would not resign or leave the country, and called decisions by parliament “illegal”. “The events witnessed by our country and the whole world are an example of a coup d’etat,” he said, comparing it to the rise of the Nazis to power in Germany in the 1930s.
The 63-year-old Yanukovich, who looked pale and tired, said he would not sign any draft laws passed by the parliament into force. “I will not sign anything with bandits who terrorize the country,” he said.
Interfax news agency said border guards refused to let Yanukovich exit the country when he tried to take an unscheduled charter flight from Donetsk and he was eventually driven away by his own security guards. “We have a legitimate, living president. We just don’t know where he is,” OlehTsaryov, a member of Yanukovich’s Party of regions, said grimly on Russian television. (Reuters)