Ukraine Parliament Votes To Oust Yanukovich, Sets May Election
(Reuters) - Ukraine's parliament voted to remove President Viktor Yanukovich
after three months of street protests, while his arch-rival Yulia Tymoshenko
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.
Supporters cheered former prime minister Tymoshenko 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.
It is also a reversal for Russian President Vladimir Putin's dream of recreating
as much as possible of the Soviet Union in a new Eurasian Union. Moscow had
counted on Yanukovich to deliver Ukraine as a central member.
Members of the Ukrainian parliament, who abandoned Yanukovich after this week's
bloodshed, applauded and sang the national anthem after declaring him
constitutionally unable to carry out his duties. An early election was set for
"This is a political knockout," opposition leader and retired world
boxing champion Vitaly Klitschko told reporters.
In a television interview the station said was conducted in the northeastern
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.
Interfax news agency said border guards refused to let Yanukovich exit the
country when he tried to fly out from the eastern city of Donetsk.
At Yanukovich's abandoned secret estate a short distance from Kiev, people
flocked to take photographs of his private zoo with ostriches and deer, replica
ancient Greek ruins, and lavish waterways and follies.
Despite Yanukovich's defiance, the dismantling of his authority seemed all but
complete. His cabinet promised a transition to a new government, the police
declared themselves behind the protesters and his arch-rival Tymoshenko went
Tymoshenko, with her trademark braided hair, waved to supporters from a car as
she was driven out of the hospital in Kharkiv, where she has been treated for a
bad back while serving a seven-year sentence since 2011.
Setting herself immediately on a collision course with Moscow, Tymoshenko said
she was sure her country would join the European Union in the near future. Her
release was welcomed by Washington.
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".
As night fell, 30,000 opposition supporters on Kiev's Independence Square,
scene of nearly three months of protests, were in buoyant mood.
There was sadness too, with coffins displayed in front of the crowd as priests said
prayers. People crossed themselves in front of makeshift shrines with candles
and pictures of the dead. Two captured water cannon trucks were parked in the
square like trophies of war.
Carried on to a stage in a wheelchair, an emotional and tired-looking
Tymoshenko told the protesters on the square, known as the Maidan: "You
have no right to leave the Maidan ... Don't stop yet."
Showing glimpses of the fiery oratory that drove her to power, Tymoshenko
shouted: "This is a Ukraine of different people. The ones who died on
Maidan are our liberators, our heroes for centuries."
The response was mixed. Tymoshenko is a divisive figure in Ukraine, where many
have become disillusioned with a political class they see as corrupt and
Small pockets of the crowd clapped and sang Tymoshenko's name, but the chants
did not catch on. Whistles could be heard. Others listened silently.
Earlier, the Ukrainian cabinet said it was committed to a responsible transfer
of power. Military and police leaders said they would not get involved in any
Yanukovich enraged much of the population by turning away from the European
Union to cultivate closer relations with Russia three months ago. On Friday, he
made sweeping concessions in a deal brokered by European diplomats after days
of street battles during which police snipers gunned down protesters.
But the deal, which called for early elections by the end of the year, was not
enough to satisfy pro-Europe demonstrators on Independence Square. They wanted
Yanukovich out immediately in the wake of the bloodletting.
The release of Tymoshenko transforms Ukraine by giving the opposition a single
leader who may become president, although Klitschko and others also have
Tymoshenko, 53, was jailed by a court under Yanukovich over a natural gas deal
with Russia she arranged while serving as premier before he took office. The EU
had long considered her a political prisoner, and her freedom was one of the
main demands it had for closer ties with Ukraine during years of negotiations
that ended when Yanukovich turned towards Moscow in November.
She had served as a leader of the "Orange Revolution" of mass
demonstrations which overturned a fraudulent election victory for Yanukovich in
2004, but after a divisive term as prime minister she lost to him in an
election in 2010. (Additional reporting by Tim Heritage and Richard Balmforth
in Kiev, Gabriela Baczynska in Moscow and Marcin Goettig in Warsaw; Writing by
Giles Elgood; Editing by David Gregorio)
be closed and the Ex president be hunted and arrested immediately and charged with treason with the
nation by conspiring with a powerful neighboring country Russia to work with it against
the will of the majority people killing hundreds of innocent peaceful
protesting citizens tantamount to committal of genocide .
that Russia had been ruling the country defacto through this ex –President. In
case the Ukrainian want they can take the matter to the ICC involving Russia as
the abettor to the Genocide Committal so that Russia does never interfere in
the internal affairs of Ukraine as it would not want others to interfer in theirs.