As Ukraine’s interim government promised to move the country back on track for eventual membership in the European Union (EU), Acting Interior Minister Arsen Avakov announced that former President Viktor Yanukovych was now wanted by the interim government for “mass killing of civilians.” It’s a stark contrast to the situation just last week when Yanukovych refused to leave office despite the overwhelming insistence of Ukraine’s opposition
movement. The Ukranian parliament then promptly voted to impeach him which passed 328-0 in favor of impeachment. Since then, Yanukovych has disappeared. On Saturday the Presidential compound was open and people were freely roaming the grounds as well as other government buildings. Reports have come in that Yanukoych was last seen in Crimea with unsubstantiated reports affirming that he fled to Eastern Ukraine with one unconfirmed report stating that he had even been arrested there.
Russia has recalled their Ambassador from Ukraine while claiming that the Ukrainian opposition has broken the agreement brokered by European countries last week and accuses them of “seizing power.” There is some concern that Russia might use its military to protect its interests in Eastern Ukraine where the majority of ethnic Russians live. Such a move does have recent precedent with the Russian military moving in to occupy South Ossetia in 2008 in order to reinforce the Russian majority there. The US has warned Russia against doing so
Additionally, the Kiev Post is reporting that documents have been discovered that indicate Moscow assisted the Yanukovych government in its attempts to quell opposition groups in past weeks.
Hennady Moskal, a Batkivshchyna Party politician and former deputy interior minister, claims to have uncovered documents outlining special operations to violently suppress the EuroMaidan demonstrations. The documents alleged that Russian officials served as advisers in how to carry out the operations.
The operations had the code name Wave and Boomerang. Their goal was to disperse the mass protests and capture the protesters’ headquarters in the House of Trade Unions on Kyiv’s Independence Square.
The documents show that the snipers on Instytutska Street near Ukraine’s government district were special units of Interior Ministry troops, led by a colonel and soliders with a special Omega unit. According to the documents, former Interior Minister Vitaliy Zakharchenko gave the order to use weapons to the Sokil unit, the main department of combating organized crimes.
According to the documents, the former first deputy of the Main Intelligence Directorate of Russia stayed at the Kyiv Hotel and helped with preparations, getting paid by the Security Services of Ukraine. Russian officials could not immediately be reached for comment.
Writing in regards to next steps for any future Ukrainian President, Espreso TV has penned an op/ed regarding hard truths Ukraine will have to face in the future which I have paraphrased below.
- Gas prices will have to rise in order to decrease state borrowing and create more financial independence from Russia. As things stand, the Ukranian government has been borrowing money from Russia in order to keep the gas flowing and prices for Ukranians lower than they would otherwise be.
- Social welfare benefits for some will have to be cut.
- Ukraine must remain militarily neutral in terms of the West and Russia. Ukraine should continue to honor the Khartov agreement of 2010 which stipulates that Russia may continue to lease the Ukrainian naval port where the Russian Black Sea Fleet is stationed.
- Both Russian and Ukrainian must be allowed to be official languages in Ukraine both in terms of court proceedings and the law in general.
- A gas consortium must be created under a trilateral format involving Ukraine, Russia, and a European company.
Below is footage proporting to show now former President Yanukovych leaving Kiev in the wake of the parliament’s impeachment vote.