Victor Yanukovich, who was reportedly spotted on Black Sea peninsula of Crimea, is being searched now as he is accused of mass crimes against protesters who stood up for months against his rule.
Currently acting Ukraine government insists that the country can’t be broken apart, and caretaker President Oleksander Turchinov admitted that the conutry’s new leaders wanted to establish relations with Russia on a “new, equal and good-neighborly footing that recognizes and takes into account Ukraine’s European choice”.
European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton is scheduled to arrive in Ukraine on Monday to discuss further measures to shore up the ailing economy, which the finance ministry calculated requires $35 billion in foreign aid over the next two years, with the first tranche needed within two weeks.
The ousted president, who vanished on Saturday, is still at large.
“An official case for the mass murder of peaceful citizens has been opened,” acting interior minister Arsen Avakov wrote on his Facebook profile. “Yanukovich and other people responsible for this have been declared wanted,” he said.
Meanwhile, protesters on Independence Square in Kiev vowed to stay until elections in May.
“Now is not the time for celebrating. We are still at war. We will stay here as long as we have to,” said Grigoriy Kuznetsov, dressed in black combat fatigues.
Galina Kravchuk was holding a carnation. “We are looking to Europe now. We have hope. We want to join Europe, ” she said.
“We must find Yanukovych and put him on trial,” added protester Leonid Shovtak, who took part in the three-month protest movement. “All the criminals with him should be in prison.”
Let’s us remembers that after three months of street protests Ukraine President was removed by the parliament, while ex prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko urged opposition demonstrators to stay in an emotional address in Kiev after she was released from jail.
In his recent interview with Kharkiv journalists Yanukovich said he had no intention to 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.
Even the president’s Party of the Regions seems to have given up on the leader with whom Moscow had last week appeared to be losing patience.
“The changes that have happened, have happened. It’s already done,” said Tatyana Bakhteyeva, a parliamentarian from Yanukovich’s home region of Donetsk.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said “illegal extremist groups are refusing to disarm and in fact are taking Kiev under their control with the connivance of opposition leaders”.
Earlier this month, a Kremlin aide had warned that Moscow could intervene.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague was asked whether Russia might “send in the tanks” to defend its interests among ethnic Russians in the east and on the Crimea peninsula. “It would really not be in the interests of Russia to do any such thing,” the politician replied.