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Yanukovich vows to fight on-insists he is still the legitimate president



by Joseph Earnest  February 28, 2014


Newscast Media MOSCOW—Viktor Yanukovych says he's still the legitimate president of Ukraine, and that the country's current authorities are "fascist thugs."

In his first public appearance since he fled Kyiv one week ago Yanukovych spoke at a news conference in the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don on February 28.

"The time has come for me to say that I intend to continue the fight for the future of Ukraine against those who are trying, through terror and fear, to take charge over it," Yanukovych told reporters. "And I decided to speak publicly about that."

Yanukovych denied that he had been removed from power, maintaining that he had been forced to leave because of direct threats to his safety.

"Nobody has ousted me," he said. "I was forced to leave Ukraine because of an immediate threat to my life and the life of my loved ones."

He added that he would return to Ukraine only after receiving guarantees of his safety.

Yanukovych insisted that Ukraine should remain "united and whole," including Crimea, where there is a major Russian influence.

Yanukovych said he would not seek military assistance from anyone to return to the seat of power in Kyiv.

He also apologized to Ukrainians for not maintaining stability. He denounced Western powers for failing to implement the February 21 Western-brokered agreement that Yanukovych signed with the opposition.
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