Mikheil Saakashvili has been leading anti-corruption rallies against Petro Poroshenko.
The Ukrainian authorities responded by giving him a deadline of 24 hours to hand himself in.
Mikheil Saakashvili’s detention was part of an operation “to disrupt a plan of revenge of pro-Kremlin forces in Ukraine”, Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko said on December 5.
Prosecutors, who say Mikheil Saakashvili is being funded by businessmen close to Russia, released audio and video recordings which they say proved he had received hundreds of thousands of dollars from the criminal group.
Mikheil Saakashvili said the recordings were fake.
If found guilty, the former president could face up to five years in jail.
Mikheil Saakashvili also faces the threat of extradition to Georgia, where he is wanted on corruption charges. He claims the accusations are politically motivated.
He previously served as governor of the southern Odessa region after being appointed by Petro Poroshenko in 2015.
Before moving to Ukraine, Mikheil Saakashvili served for almost 10 years as president of Georgia.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has admitted for the first time that the plan to annex Crimea was ordered weeks before the referendum on self-determination.
Crimea was formally absorbed into Russia on March 18, to international condemnation, after unidentified gunmen took over the peninsula.
Vladimir Putin said on TV he had ordered work on “returning Crimea” to begin at an all-night meeting on February 22.
The meeting was called after Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych was ousted.
Speaking last year, Vladimir Putin had said only that he took his final decision about Crimea after secret, undated opinion polls showed 80% of Crimeans favored joining Russia.
The findings of these polls were borne out by the outcome of the referendum on March 16, he told Russian state TV last April.
Speaking in a forthcoming Russian TV documentary, Vladimir Putin said a meeting with officials had been held on February 22-23 to plan the rescue of Ukraine’s deposed president.
“I invited the leaders of our special services and the defense ministry to the Kremlin and set them the task of saving the life of the president of Ukraine, who would simply have been liquidated,” he said.
“We finished about seven in the morning. When we were parting, I told all my colleagues, <<We are forced to begin the work to bring Crimea back into Russia>>.”
The trailer for The Path To The Motherland was broadcast on March 8 with no release date announced.
On February 27, unidentified armed men seized the local parliament and local government buildings in Crimea, raising the Russian flag.
Among them appeared to be regular soldiers without military insignia, who were dubbed the “little green men”.
Vladimir Putin subsequently admitted deploying troops on the peninsula to “stand behind Crimea’s self-defense forces”.
The formal annexation of Crimea sparked unrest in eastern Ukraine on April 7, when pro-Russian protesters occupied government buildings in Donetsk, Luhansk and Kharkiv demanding independence.
A month later, pro-Russian separatists in Donetsk and Luhansk declared independence from Ukraine after unrecognized referendums.
Ukraine responded by launching an “anti-terrorist operation” against them and the region became engulfed in a conflict which has cost at least 6,000 lives and driven more than a million people from their homes, according to the UN.
The Ukrainian government, Western leaders and NATO say there is clear evidence that Russia is helping the separatists with heavy weapons and soldiers. Independent experts echo that accusation.
Moscow denies it, insisting that any Russians serving with the rebels are “volunteers”.
Full details of Viktor Yanukovych’s escape from Ukraine are unclear although Vladimir Putin spoke of preparations to evacuate him from Donetsk.
The documentary, which Russian TV says will be broadcast soon, was made by Andrei Kondrashov, a journalist with state-run channel Rossiya-1.
At least two people have been killed and 10 more injured after a bomb exploded at a rally in Ukraine’s second city Kharkiv.
The rally was one of several being held to mark a year since the Kiev uprising that led to the fall of pro-Russia leader Viktor Yanukovych.
Security forces have detained four suspects in the attack, officials say.
Kharkiv lies outside the conflict zone in eastern Ukraine, where a ceasefire appears finally to be taking hold.
The Ukrainian government has agreed to start pulling back heavy weapons from February 22, and the rebels said they would start the process on February 24.
The pullback will not be completed until at least March 8, five days later than the deadline set at peace talks in Minsk this month.
Another key element of the Minsk deal moved forward on February 21 when the Ukrainian government and the rebels exchanged 191 prisoners.
The ceasefire continues to be breached, notably in Debaltseve, a key transport hub captured by the rebels in recent days, an OSCE official said.
Alexander Hug added that the humanitarian situation there was “relatively catastrophic”.
“The local population reported to us that there is no water, no food, no gas, no heating, no electricity, no medication. And all the buildings that our monitors have seen (…) have been affected by the fighting,” he said.
The explosion in Kharkiv happened at 13:20 as people gathered near the city’s Palace of Sport for a march in support of national unity, Ukrainian media say.
Officials initially said an explosive device had been thrown from a car but later said it had been buried in the snow.
“Security service detained persons who may have been involved in the preparation and carrying out of crimes of a terrorist nature in Kharkiv, including the explosion,” security spokesman Markian Lubkivskyi wrote on his Facebook page.
He later said the four suspects were Ukrainian citizens who had received instruction and weapons in the Russian city of Belgorod, just across the border.
Markian Lubkivskyi also posted a picture of a rocket launcher which he said the suspects were planning to use in attacks in the city.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko described the attack as “a bold attempt to expand the territory of terrorism” and promised to bring the perpetrators to justice.
Before Sunday’s explosion, Kharkiv, in the north-east of Ukraine, had seen more than a dozen attacks over three months, including an explosion in a bar used by pro-government activists which injured more than 10 people in November.
That attack was blamed on a pro-Russian group calling itself the Kharkiv Partisans.
Meanwhile, thousands of Ukrainians have been taking part in “dignity marches” in the capital Kiev and other cities, remembering the victims of sniper fire during protests last February.
European leaders including European Council president Donald Tusk, German President Joachim Gauck and the leaders of Lithuania, Poland and Moldova have been attending in Kiev.
Anti-Maidan protesters rally in Moscow to condemn the “coup” in neighboring Ukraine, a year after the downfall of its pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych.
Russian state media heavily promoted the rally and march with the slogan “We won’t forget! We won’t forgive!”.
Ukraine’s protests ousted pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych in 2014.
Russia has since annexed Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula and is accused of backing rebels in eastern Ukraine.
The Ukrainian government, Western leaders and NATO say there is clear evidence that Russia is helping the rebels in eastern Ukraine with heavy weapons and soldiers. Independent experts echo that accusation. Moscow denies it, insisting that any Russians serving with the rebels are “volunteers”.
Shelling could be heard on Saturday morning in the city of Donetsk, the rebels’ main stronghold, further fraying the ceasefire which was meant to begin nearly one week ago in eastern Ukraine.
Nearly 5,700 people have died since the fighting erupted in April 2014 and some 1.5 million people have fled their homes, according to the UN.
The Moscow event is styled as an “anti-Maidan” march – a reference to Ukraine’s pro-EU protests that started on Kiev’s central Independence Square, widely known as the Maidan.
Groups of demonstrators gathered in central Moscow on Saturday under patriotic Russian banners.
One group of marchers in military fatigues could be seen with a placard which read “Maidan is an illness – we’re going to cure it!”
Another placard read “Maidan benefits the enemies of Russia!”
At least 10,000 people are expected to turn out with more than 100 public organizations mustering support, Russia’s NTV news channel reports.
The channel says it will air an interview with Viktor Yanukovych later in the day.
The anti-Yanukovych revolt was triggered by a sudden U-turn that ditched a wide-ranging pact with the EU in favor of closer ties with Russia.
Since Viktor Yanukovych fled Kiev, the new authorities in Ukraine have issued an arrest warrant for him over the “mass murder of peaceful citizens”.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko accused Russia on February 20 of direct involvement in the sniper fire that killed dozens of protesters in Kiev on February 18-20 last year.
Petro Poroshenko was speaking just two days after his army retreated from the key town of Debaltseve, now in rebel hands.
Speaking at a commemorative gathering in Kiev, he said Russian presidential aide Vladislav Surkov had organized “groups of foreign snipers”. The president cited information he had received from Ukraine’s security services.
The Russian foreign ministry hit back at the claim, calling it “nonsense”.
The rebels took the strategic transport hub, despite the ceasefire signed on February 12, arguing that the truce did not apply to the flash-point town.
An intense rebel bombardment forced some 2,500 government troops to retreat from Debaltseve, and dozens of others surrendered.
Russian President Vladimir Putin issued a tough statement on February 20 warning that he would not allow any foreign state to gain the military advantage over Russia.
“No-one should have the illusion that they can gain military superiority over Russia, put any kind of pressure on it,” he said.
Former Ukraine’s President Viktor Yanukovych has been placed on Interpol’s wanted list, almost one year after he fled to neighboring Russia.
Viktor Yanukovych is accused by Ukrainian officials of embezzling millions of dollars in public funds.
He was ousted after clashes between police and protesters in Kiev left dozens dead, mainly demonstrators.
Afterwards, Russia moved to annexe Crimea from Ukraine and conflict broke out in parts of eastern Ukraine.
Russia has denied fomenting the violence in the eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, where a frequently violated ceasefire is in place. Ukrainian military officials said on January 12 that there had been an increase in rebel attacks on their positions.
Germany’s foreign minister is due to meet colleagues from Russia, Ukraine and France in an attempt to reach an agreement on a potential summit of leaders in Kazakhstan this week.
Germany has stressed that a summit will only take place if it leads to “concrete progress”.
A red notice for Viktor Yanukovych appeared on Interpol’s website on January 12. Under a red notice, Interpol’s role is described as assisting a national police force in “identifying and locating these persons with a view to their arrest and extradition or similar lawful action”.
Viktor Yanukovych, 64, was last seen in a photograph with film director Oliver Stone, which was said to have been taken in Moscow in December.
An unconfirmed report by Interfax news agency said Russia was likely to decline a request for Viktor Yanukovych’s extradition.
The decision to issue the notice was taken by a special Interpol commission, according to Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov, after months of reasoning from the authorities in Kiev.
Similar red notices were also issued for ex-PM Mykola Azarov and Iurii Kolobov, a former finance minister, as well as Georgii Dzekon, ex-chairman of Ukrtelecom.
Arsen Avakov said a warrant had been issued for Viktor Yanukovych’s son Olexander, although that could not be confirmed on the Interpol website.
Ukraine’s new government accuses Viktor Yanukovych of ordering snipers to fire on protesters, although he rejects the accusations against him.
About one million civil servants will be screened in Ukraine to root out corrupt practices from the past, PM Arseniy Yatseniuk has announced.
Ukraine’s parliament passed the lustration law on September 16, allowing the removal of government officials from their posts.
All those who worked under ousted President Viktor Yanukovych and also former senior Communist and KGB members will be affected.
Ukraine has had months of unrest since Viktor Yanukovych was ousted in February 2014.
Government troops had been fighting pro-Russia separatists in the eastern Donetsk and Luhansk regions for months, until a truce was signed on September 5.
Ukraine and the West accuse Russia of sending its troops and heavy weaponry to help the rebels – a claim denied by the Kremlin.
“About one million civil servants of different kinds will come under this law, including the whole cabinet of ministers, the interior ministry, the intelligence services, the prosecutor’s office,” Arseniy Yatseniuk said in a televised cabinet meeting.
Ukraine’s parliament passed the lustration law on September 16, allowing the removal of government officials from their posts (photo Reuters)
Correspondents say the issues of vetting and corruption are emotional subjects for many in Ukraine, who want to cleanse the government of Viktor Yanukovych’s influence.
The law on “lustration” – the cleansing of the ranks of power – was approved under huge pressure from activists, who took part in mass protests against Viktor Yanukovych.
The bill was finally passed after several failed attempts when speaker Okexandr Turchynov warned lawmakers he would not allow them to leave parliament without a successful result.
Outside the building, Vitaly Zhuravsky, who belongs to a party described as pro-Russian, was thrown by angry crowds into a rubbish bin.
The bill was approved on the same day as a new law granting self-rule to parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
It was part of the truce agreed between separatists and the Ukrainian government, although rebel leaders say they will continue to demand independence, and some Ukrainian lawmakers have described the move as “capitulation”.
At least 3,000 people have been killed in the conflict and more than 310,000 internally displaced in Ukraine, the UN says.
Also on September 16, the Ukrainian and European parliaments voted to ratify a major EU-Ukraine association agreement that aims to bring the ex-Soviet republic closer to the EU.
Ukraine’s government inquiry found that special police forces were behind the killings of dozens of anti-government protesters in Kiev in February.
Interior Minister Arsen Avakov told reporters that 12 members of the Berkut police had been identified as snipers and arrested.
Arsen Avakov presented what he said was new evidence from the shootings on February 18-20, when 76 people were killed.
Months of mass protests led to the ousting of President Viktor Yanukovych.
More than 100 people – including police officers – are now known to have died in Ukraine since the unrest began in November over Viktor Yanukovych’s last-minute rejection of a landmark deal with the EU in favor with closer Russian ties.
Ukraine’s new authorities have since signed the political part of the association agreement with the EU.
Meanwhile, Russia – which backed Viktor Yanukovych – last month annexed Crimea in southern Ukraine following a controversial referendum branded illegal by Kiev and the West.
Ukraine’s government inquiry found that special police forces were behind the killings of dozens of anti-government protesters in Kiev in February (photo Getty Images)
At a news conference in Kiev, Arsen Avakov presented the initial findings of an initial investigation into the mass shootings that shocked Ukraine and the world.
Most of the demonstrators who died were killed on Instytutska Street near the main protest camp on Independence Square, widely known as the Maidan.
Arsen Avakov gave details of one particular episode where he said the inquiry had established that eight of those killed were hit by bullets from the same machine-gun.
He identified Maj. Dmytro Sadovnyk as commander of a unit suspected of shooting dead at least 17 protesters.
“From the side of the Zhovtnevy Palace, a special squad from the riot Berkut police, wearing yellow armbands, opened fire at the protesters. Much of this fire was targeted. We are carrying out ballistics tests on the weapons,” Arsen Avakov said.
Members of the security services’ special unit Alfa are also believed to have taken part in the shootings, he added.
The interior minister also showed a number of slides and photos illustrating where he said police snipers were firing from. He named two buildings on Khreshchatyk and Kostyolna streets, saying other spots were still being investigated.
And he added that the previous authorities had tried to make the inquiry impossible by burning uniforms, dumping weapons and destroying documents.
A number of those responsible for the shootings are believed to have fled to Crimea.
Ukrainian Security Service chief Valentyn Nalyvaychenko said that Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) operatives had been involved in planning operations against the protesters.
He added that the FSB had sent “tonnes” of explosives and weapons by plane to Ukraine.
The Ukrainian authorities also said that the killings of the protesters took place “under the direct leadership” of Viktor Yanukovych.
They said arrest warrants had been issued for the ex-president and Oleksandr Yakymenko, Ukraine’s former security service chief.
Viktor Yanukovych – who is now in Russia – has repeatedly denied the allegations.
In a TV interview on Wednesday, Viktor Yanukovych claimed the shooting in February came from buildings held by protesters.
Former boxing champion and leading politician Vitaly Klitschko has pulled out of Ukraine’s presidential elections planned in May.
Vitaly Klitschko said instead he would back tycoon Petro Poroshenko.
Both men played a key role in months of street protests that led to the ousting of President Viktor Yanukovych.
Vitaly Klitschko, 42, announced his decision to pull out of the presidential race at his Udar (Punch) party’s gathering in Kiev on Saturday.
“The only chance of winning is to nominate one candidate from the democratic forces,” he said.
He stressed that a contender with “the highest chances to win should be running” for the presidency.
“Today, Petro Poroshenko is this candidate,” Vitaly Klitschkosaid, reminding supporters that the two politicians had stood and fought shoulder-to-shoulder at the protesters’ main camp in Kiev – the Maidan.
Petro Poroshenko, 48, has already declared his intention to enter the race.
Vitaly Klitschko has pulled out of Ukraine’s presidential race and he will back tycoon Petro Poroshenko (photo AFP)
The owner of the popular Roshen chocolate company, Petro Poroshenko is widely known in Ukraine as the “chocolate king”.
He has held a number of cabinet portfolios under different presidents in the past decade.
On Saturday, Petro Poroshenko said that – together with the Udar party – “we declare our goal is a new Ukraine”.
“Our goal is to live in a new way. To form Ukraine in a way that there will be rich, free and honest citizens happy to be Ukrainians and to live in a country respected by the whole world.”
Vitaly Klitschko’s withdrawal means the race is likely to be between Petro Poroshenko and former PM Yulia Tymoshenko.
Several former supporters of Viktor Yanokovych have also announced they will run. The Party of Regions, to which Viktor Yanukovych belonged, on Saturday backed former Kharkiv governor Mykhailo Dobkin to run for the presidency.
The May 25 elections are seen as a crucial step in leading Ukraine out of the country’s deepest political crisis since its independence in 1991. An interim administration is currently in place in Kiev, led by acting President Olksandr Turchynov and PM Arseniy Yatsenyuk.
Russia says the current authorities in Kiev came to power in a coup and are, therefore, illegitimate.
Ukraine – backed by the West – denies the claim.
Moscow formally annexed Crimea after the predominantly ethnic Russian region held a referendum earlier this month which backed joining Russia.
Latest opinions polls give Petro Poroshenko about 25% of the vote, ahead of his presidential rivals, while Vitaly Klitschko and Yulia Tymoshenko are lagging far behind.
However, Yulia Tymoshenko, 53, who was released from prison last month following the overthrow of Viktor Yanukovych, is expected to mount a strong campaign.
In all, 15 contenders are planning to challenge for Ukraine’s presidency.
The EU has named 18 Ukrainians who will have their assets frozen including ousted President Viktor Yanukovych, his son and former PM Mykola Azarov.
The EU has named 18 Ukrainians who will have their assets frozen including ousted President Viktor Yanukovych and his son
Early on Thursday, the European Union revealed the names of those targeted by its sanctions. The list appears to include Viktor Yanukovych’s closest aides, including a former interior minister, justice minister, the prosecutor general, the head of the security services and the ousted president’s son.
The EU sanctions also target the former PM Mykola Azarov and his son.
Russia’s UN envoy Vitaly Churkin has claimed that ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych asked Moscow to send troops across the border to protect civilians.
Vitaly Churkin told a Security Council meeting that Viktor Yanukovych wrote President Vladimir Putin on Saturday.
Thousands of Russian troops have been deployed to Ukraine’s Crimea region.
Russian troops have also been holding military exercises near Ukraine’s borders, but now Vladimir Putin has ordered them back to base, the Kremlin says.
Ukraine said Russia had set a deadline for its forces in Crimea to surrender by 03:00 GMT. So far there have been no reports of any incidents.
Russia has denied issuing any ultimatum.
The Kremlin has argued in favor of the intervention, which has sparked outrage and threats of economic sanctions from the US and EU.
Western ambassadors dismissed Russia’s arguments as groundless.
US Secretary of State John Kerry is on his way to Kiev to meet Ukraine’s new leaders and show support for the country’s sovereignty.
Meanwhile, Ukraine’s UN envoy Yuriy Sergeyev says Russia has deployed about 16,000 troops to the peninsula.
Vitaly Churkin told a Security Council meeting that Viktor Yanukovych wrote Vladimir Putin asking for troops in Crimea
Ukrainian defence sources accused Russia’s Black Sea Fleet chief Aleksander Vitko of threatening a full-scale assault if they did not surrender by dawn on Tuesday.
A Russian spokesman later denied that any ultimatum had been issued.
Ukrainian military personnel besieged in their bases waited nervously for the deadline to pass, many of them preparing for an attack by Russian troops and pro-Moscow militias.
However, a deputy commander at one of Ukraine’s units, named only as Major Lisovoy, told local ATR TV that there were no attempts to storm the base.
“We’re all in high spirits, ready to defend our base. There was no official ultimatum, it was done indirectly via mobile phones. I want peace and stability, and for Ukraine to be a united country.”
The Kremlin has established de facto military control in Crimea. There are growing fears that it might try to seize more land in eastern Ukraine, where a number of people support closer ties with Moscow.
Ukrainian officials say reports suggest there is also a Russian military build-up near Ukraine’s eastern border.
Meanwhile, the Pentagon said it was putting on hold all military-to-military engagements between the US and Russia. These include exercises, bilateral meetings, port visits and planning conferences.
At the UN in New York, Vitaly Churkin offered the Security Council a copy of the letter Viktor Yanukovych had sent.
Vitaly Churkin said Viktor Yanukovych had described Ukraine as on the brink of civil war, with civilians being persecuted simply for speaking Russian.
Ukraine’s officials deny this, pointing out that an overwhelming majority of people in Crimea and well as in a number south-eastern cities in Ukraine’s mainland speak Russian in their day-to-day lives.
Vitaly Churkin quoted from the letter: “I would call on the president of Russia, Mr Putin, asking him to use the armed forces of the Russian Federation to establish legitimacy, peace, law and order, stability and defending the people of Ukraine.”
He reiterated Moscow’s view that Viktor Yanukovych is Ukraine’s legitimate leader, not interim President Oleksandr Turchynov.
Western ambassadors refused to accept Russia’s justification, continuing to accuse Moscow of violating international law.
Ukraine’s ousted President Viktor Yanukovych has made his first public appearance since being removed from office last week.
Viktor Yanukovych said at a news conference in Russia he would fight for his country.
He said he was “not overthrown”, but was compelled to leave Ukraine after threats to his life.
Those who drove him from power were “young neo-fascist thugs”, he said.
Viktor Yanukovych said current tensions in Crimea were “understandable” but stated his desire for Ukraine to remain united.
The focus of unrest in Ukraine has shifted to the Russian-majority Crimea region since Viktor Yanukovych was ousted by Western-leaning opponents last Saturday.
It followed a bloody crackdown on anti-government protesters who had taken over central Kiev since Viktor Yanukovych rejected an EU trade deal in favor of one with Russia last November.
Viktor Yanukovych has made his first public appearance since being removed from office at a news conference in Russia
On Friday, Ukraine accused Russia of carrying out an “armed invasion” in Crimea by sending naval forces to occupy Sevastopol airport. Moscow has denied the claims.
“I intend to continue to struggle for the future of Ukraine, against terror and fear,” Viktor Yanukovych told the news conference in the Russian city of Rostov-on-Don.
“I can’t find words to characterize this new authority. These are people who advocate violence – the Ukrainian parliament is illegitimate.
“What’s going on now is lawlessness, lack of authority, and terror. Decisions in parliament were taken under duress.”
He apologized to the Ukrainian people for not having “enough strength to keep stability” and for allowing “lawlessness in this country”.
Viktor Yanukovych insisted he did not “flee anywhere”, explaining that his car was shot at as he left Kiev for the north-east city of Kharkiv and he was forced to move around Ukraine amid fears for the safety of himself and his family.
He said he arrived in Russia “thanks to a patriotically minded young officer” and was given refuge in Rostov, near the Ukrainian border, by an old friend.
Speaking in Russian, Viktor Yanukovych said he would return to Ukraine “as soon as there are guarantees for my security and that of my family”.
Viktor Yanukovych ruled out taking part in elections planned for May 25, describing them as “illegal”.
He made clear his view that the only way out of the crisis is to implement an EU-backed compromise agreement he signed with opposition leaders last week before he was deposed.
Viktor Yanukovych said the current turmoil in Crimea was “an absolutely natural reaction to the bandit coup that occurred in Kiev” and added that he was surprised by the restraint shown by Russian President Vladimir Putin so far.
He also stressed that “military action in this situation is unacceptable” and said he wanted Crimea to remain part of Ukraine.
Earlier, Ukraine’s general prosecutor said he would ask Russia to extradite Viktor Yanukovych on suspicion of mass murder following the deaths of more than 80 people in last week’s violent clashes between protesters and the police.
Ukraine’s interim cabinet has been presented at Kiev’s main protest camp, the Maidan.
The Maidan council named Arseniy Yatsenyuk to become prime minister.
Ukraine’s new government – to be voted on by parliament on Thursday – includes leading activists.
Daunting challenges lie ahead, including fixing Ukraine’s struggling economy which faces default.
Meanwhile, ousted President Viktor Yanukovych has been put on the international wanted list.
Viktor Yanukovych is accused of being behind last week’s deaths of more than 100 protesters at the hands of riot police in and around the Maidan.
The Maidan council named Arseniy Yatsenyuk to become prime minister
The Maidan council – made up of protester groups and activists – announced its nominations at a big gathering of protesters at the camp, which is spread over Kiev’s Independence Square.
The council proposed Fatherland Party leader Arseniy Yatsenyuk to lead the cabinet until after early presidential elections on May 25.
Arseniy Yatsenyuk – a former speaker of parliament and foreign minister – has been one of the main opposition leaders during the protests which first erupted in late November.
It was agreed that acting Defense Minister Arsen Avakov would keep his post. Other nominations include:
The key foreign affairs ministry portfolio goes to Andriy Deshchytsia, who played a key role in rallying diplomats in support of the protests
Overall Maidan commander Andriy Parubiy – who commands huge respect among the protesters – was named candidate for secretary of the National Security and Defence Council
Tetyana Chornovol and Dmytro Bulatov – prominent activists who were badly beaten by unknown attackers earlier this year – are set to head the anti-corruption bureau and the ministry of youth and sports respectively. [youtube hW031-_eJSM 650]
Oleksandr Turchynov – Ukraine’s interim president – has warned of the dangers of separatism following the ousting of President Viktor Yanukovych.
Many in Ukraine’s Russian-speaking regions oppose his overthrow and the installation of a more European-leaning interim administration.
Russia is also angry at the changes, but Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said Moscow will not intervene.
The formation of a unity government has been delayed until Thursday.
Addressing parliament, Oleksandr Turchynov said he would meet law enforcement agencies to discuss the risk of separatism in regions with large ethnic Russian populations.
Separatism was a “serious threat”, he said.
Ukraine’s interim President Olexander Turchynov has warned of the dangers of separatism following the ousting of President Viktor Yanukovych
Crimea and some pro-Russian areas in the east have seen protests against the overthrow of Viktor Yanukovych, sparking fears of secession.
The delay in announcing a unity government was to allow further consultations, Oleksandr Turchynov said, adding that “a coalition of national faith must be elected”.
Russia has been vehemently opposed to the changes in Ukraine, with PM Dmitry Medvedev saying on Monday that those behind the new administration had conducted an “armed mutiny”.
At a news conference in Moscow on Tuesday, Sergei Lavrov warned other states against seeking “unilateral advantages” in Ukraine, but said Russia’s “policy of non-intervention” would continue.
“It is dangerous and counter-productive to try to force on Ukraine a choice according to the principle of either being with us or against us,” he said.
Sergei Lavrov added that “it is in our interest for Ukraine to be part of the broad European family” but against Russia’s interest to “allow the radicals and nationalists who are clearly trying to take centre stage to prevail.”
It is still unclear where Viktor Yanukovych is, but an arrest warrant has been issued. He was last reportedly seen on Sunday in Balaklava on the Crimean peninsula.
Acting Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said a criminal case had been opened against the ousted president and other officials over “mass murder of peaceful citizens”.
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said Ukraine’s interim authorities had conducted an “armed mutiny”.
And the Russian foreign ministry said dissenters in mainly Russian-speaking regions faced suppression.
Earlier, Ukraine’s interim interior minister said an arrest warrant had been issued for ousted President Viktor Yanukovych.
Ukraine’s parliament voted to remove Viktor Yanukovych on Saturday. His whereabouts are unknown but he was reported to have been in the Crimean peninsula on Sunday.
Russia has already recalled its ambassador to Ukraine for consultation.
Dmitry Medvedev said Ukraine’s interim authorities had conducted an armed mutiny
Unrest in Ukraine began in November when Viktor Yanukovych rejected a landmark association and trade deal with the EU in favor of closer ties with Russia.
Dmitry Medvedev, quoted by Russian news agencies, suggested that Western countries that accepted Ukraine’s new authorities were mistaken.
“The legitimacy of a whole number of organs of power that function there raises great doubts,” he said.
“Some of our foreign, Western partners think otherwise. This is some kind of aberration of perception when people call legitimate what is essentially the result of an armed mutiny.”
He added: “We do not understand what is going on there. There is a real threat to our interests and to the lives of our citizens.”
Ukraine’s foreign ministry quickly responded to Dmitry Medvedev’s comments on Russian citizens in Ukraine, saying his concerns were “unfounded”.
However, Russia’s foreign ministry also issued a strongly worded statement saying a “forced change of power” was taking place in Ukraine and accused interim leaders of passing new laws “aimed at infringing the humanitarian rights of Russians and other ethnic minorities”.
An arrest warrant has been issued in Ukraine for ousted President Viktor Yanukovych, the interim interior minister has announced.
Arsen Avakov announced on Facebook that a criminal case had been opened against Viktor Yanukovych and other officials over “mass murder of peaceful citizens”.
Ukraine’s parliament voted to remove Viktor Yanukovych on Saturday after months of protest sparked by his rejection of an EU deal.
A crackdown on the protests last week left dozens dead.
“An official case for the mass murder of peaceful citizens has been opened,” said Arsen Avakov.
“Yanukovych and other people responsible for this have been declared wanted.”
A criminal case has been opened against Viktor Yanukovych and other officials over mass murder of peaceful citizens
The statement said Viktor Yanukovych was last seen in Balaklava on the Crimean peninsula on Sunday, but that he had left by car for an unknown destination, accompanied by an aide.
Before leaving Balaklava Viktor Yanukovych gave his state-appointed security detail the choice to leave him, with many choosing to do so, the statement said.
It did not say which other figures were covered by the warrant.
Arsen Avakov – a key opposition figure – was appointed interim interior minister on Saturday, in a day of fast-paced events in parliament.
He replaced Vitaly Zakharchenko, who was sacked the day before after being blamed for the deaths of civilians in the crackdown on protesters.
The protests first began in late November when Viktor Yanukovych rejected a landmark association and trade deal with the EU in favor of closer ties with Russia.
Ukraine’s health ministry says 88 people, mostly anti-Yanukovych protesters but also police, are now known to have been killed in last week’s clashes.
Viktor Yanukovych insisted on Saturday that he was still Ukraine’s legitimate leader. But he had become increasingly isolated and parliament voted to impeach him and hold presidential elections in May.
Russian ambassador to Ukraine Mikhail Zurabov has been recalled over what it described as the deteriorating situation in the country.
Moscow has condemned the removal of President Viktor Yanukovych, who was dismissed by parliament on Saturday.
Ukraine’s newly appointed interim president, Olexander Turchynov, says the country will now focus on closer integration with the EU.
Viktor Yanukovych’s rejection of an EU trade deal in favor of closer ties with Russia had triggered the unrest.
EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton is due to arrive in Kiev on Monday to discuss EU support “for a lasting solution to the political crisis and measures to stabilize the economic situation”.
US Secretary of State John Kerry has said the US strongly supports the Ukrainian parliament’s vote to impeach Viktor Yanukovych and call elections, the central demand of months of protests.
Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Ukraine’s opposition “had in effect seized power in Kiev, refused to disarm and continued to place its bets on violence”.
Russian ambassador to Ukraine Mikhail Zurabov has been recalled over what it described as the deteriorating situation in the country
He accused them of deviating from a political deal they signed with Viktor Yanukovych on Friday, which aimed to end the protests after a week in which dozens of people were killed.
Moscow recently agreed to provide $15 billion (11 billion euros) to support Ukraine’s struggling economy, a move seen as a reward for Viktor Yanukovych’s controversial decision last year not to sign a long-planned trade deal with the EU.
But there are now fears Moscow could withdraw that offer.
A US official said US Treasury Secretary Jack Lew had discussed Ukraine with Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov on the sidelines of the G20 meeting in Sydney on Sunday.
Anton Siluanov reportedly left open the question of whether Russia would pay the next installment of financial help for Ukraine, worth $2 billion.
British Chancellor George Osborne said early on Monday that the UK was ready to provide financial support to Ukraine through international organizations such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Lawmakers from Viktor Yanukovych’s Party of Regions now appear to be disowning him, having issued a statement criticizing him to Interfax-Ukraine.
In other decisions on Sunday:
Foreign Minister Leonid Kozhara and Education Minister Dmytro Tabachnyk were dismissed
Arrest warrants were issued for former Incomes Minister Oleksandr Klimenko and former Prosecutor-General Viktor Pshonka
Parliament lowered the official status of the Russian language by cancelling a law brought in by Viktor Yanukovych
Parliament also voted to seize Viktor Yanukovych’s luxury estate near Kiev, which protesters entered on Saturday [youtube inQUUTiSnLU 650]
Ukraine parliament’s speaker Oleksandr Turchynov has been named as interim president.
Oleksandr Turchynov takes charge following the dismissal of President Viktor Yanukovych on Saturday. He told lawmakers they had until Tuesday to form a new unity government.
Former PM Yulia Tymoshenko, who was freed from jail on Saturday, has ruled out becoming prime minister again.
Her release was one of the conditions of the EU-Ukraine trade pact that Viktor Yanukovych rejected last year.
The move triggered the protests that led to the current crisis.
The health ministry says 88 people, mostly protesters, are now known to have been killed in clashes since February 18.
Thousands of opposition supporters remain in Kiev’s Independence Square, heeding opposition calls not to disperse.
Ukraine parliament’s speaker Oleksandr Turchynov has been named as interim president
In response to reports that her name was being mentioned as a possible candidate, Yulia Tymoshenko issued a statement reading: “No-one has agreed or discussed this with me.
“Thank you for your respect but I would like you not to consider my nomination for the post of the head of government.”
Oleksandr Turchynov, a close associate of Yulia Tymoshenko, described forming a unity government as a “priority task”.
“We don’t have much time,” one of the opposition leaders, former world champion boxer Vitaly Klitschko, said as parliament began its debate.
“I want to make Ukraine a modern European country,” he said.
“If I can do that through the president’s position, I will do my best.”
In an address on Saturday, aired before lawmakers voted to remove him, Viktor Yanukovych refused to officially stand down. He is last thought to have been in Kharkiv after travelling there late on Friday night.
Yulia Tymoshenko has urged opposition supporters in Kiev’s Independence Square to continue their protests.
Ukraine’s former PM Yulia Tymoshenko, who has a back injury, addressed crowds from a wheelchair after being freed from detention.
“Until you finish this job… nobody has the right to leave,” she said.
Her speech came at the end of a dramatic day that saw President Viktor Yanukovych removed by the parliament and fleeing Kiev, but refusing to stand down.
Yulia Tymoshenko broke down in tears as she told cheering supporters late on Saturday: “You are heroes.
Yulia Tymoshenko has urged opposition supporters in Kiev’s Independence Square to continue their protests
“Because nobody could… do what you have done.”
“We’ve eliminated this cancer, this tumor,” she said.
However, while Yulia Tymoshenko was hailed by many in the audience, she does not enjoy universal support among the opposition.
Before she went into prison in 2011, Yulia Tymoshenko’s popularity ratings were dropping and many Ukrainians blame her in part for the chaos of the post-Orange Revolution years, or see her as a member of Ukraine’s corrupt elite.
Dozens of people walked away in disgust when she appeared on the stage in Independence Square.
A vote by parliament on Friday paved the way for Yulia Tymoshenko’s release.
In an address televised before Ukraine’s parliament vote to impeach him, Viktor Yanukovych described events in Kiev as a “coup”.
Viktor Yanukovych insisted he was the “lawfully elected president” and compared the actions of the opposition to the rise to power of the Nazis in 1930s Germany.
In his address Viktor Yanukovych also called a raft of votes in Ukraine’s parliament on Friday “illegitimate”, claiming that lawmakers had been “beaten, pelted with stones and intimidated”.
However, he did admit that that some had left his Party of the Regions, calling them “traitors”.
President Viktor Yanukovych also said his ally, parliamentary speaker Volodymyr Rybak, was forced to resign because he had been physically beaten.
He added that both Volodymyr Rybak’s car and his own had been fired at.
In an address televised before Ukraine’s parliament vote to impeach him, Viktor Yanukovych described events in Kiev as a coup
Volodymyr Rybak resigned on Saturday morning citing ill health and was replaced by Oleksandr Turchynov, a Yulia Tymoshenko ally.
Another Yulia Tymoshenko ally, Arsen Avakov, was appointed interim interior minister, replacing Vitaly Zakharchenko, who was sacked on Friday after being blamed for the deaths of civilians in last week’s crackdown on protests.
Before Saturday’s vote to oust Viktor Yanukovych, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov accused the Ukrainian opposition of being led by “armed extremists and pogromists” whose actions were a threat to Ukraine’s sovereignty and constitutional order.
Also before the vote, Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski – one of three EU ministers that mediated between the two sides this week – tweeted that there had been “no coup in Kiev”.
Radoslaw Sikorski, along with the German and French foreign ministers, presided over talks that led to a pact on Friday between Viktor Yanukovych and opposition leaders which now seems to have been overtaken by events.
The deal followed several days of violence in which dozens of people died in a police crackdown on months of protest. It called for the restoration of the 2004 constitution and the formation of a national unity government.
The agreement failed to end the protests overnight with huge crowds remaining in the Maidan calling for Viktor Yanukovych’s resignation.
Ukraine’s parliament has voted to oust President Viktor Yanukovych and hold early presidential elections on May 25.
The vote came after the opposition seized several official buildings in the capital Kiev and parliament appointed high-level officials.
Viktor Yanukovych described events as a “coup” and vowed not to stand down.
Also on Saturday afternoon, prominent opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko was released from detention, hours after parliament authorized the move.
Correspondents say Yulia Tymoshenko was driven away in a car after leaving a hospital in the eastern city of Kharkiv where she was being held under prison guard.
Yulia Tymoshenko is now reported to be heading to Kiev’s Independence Square – also called the Maidan – which has been the focal point of anti-government protests.
Lawmakers had voted to pave the way for Yulia Tymoshenko’s release on Friday. She was sentenced to seven years in prison in 2011 after being convicted of abuse of power over her actions during her tenure as prime minister.
Ukraine’s parliament has voted to oust President Viktor Yanukovych and hold early presidential elections on May 25
Yulia Tymoshenko’s supporters have always maintained this was simply Viktor Yanukovych taking out his most prominent opponent, and her release has always been a key demand of the protest movement.
The opposition is now in effective control of the capital Kiev, with Viktor Yanukovych arriving in Kharkiv, near the Russian border, late on Friday night.
The Interfax news agency reported parliament speaker Oleksandr Turchynov as saying Viktor Yanukovych had been stopped by border police in an attempt to flee to Russia and was now somewhere in the Donetsk region.
Earlier on Saturday, protesters walked unchallenged into the president’s office and residential compounds.
Ukraine’s army released a statement on Saturday afternoon saying it would not get “involved in the domestic political conflict”.
The vote to “remove Viktor Yanukovych from the post of president of Ukraine” was passed by 328 MPs.
Such ballots, passed by what is called constitutional majority, are binding and enter into force with immediate effect.