Police head details Yanukovych flight in Ukraine as power crumbles
KIEV, Ukraine — With his allies deserting him and his once-firm presidential power disintegrating, Viktor Yanukovych has fled Ukraine’s capital by car and aircraft, heading for the parts of the country where he is most likely to find friends, according to the acting head of the police.
On Monday, as Yanukovych’s exact whereabouts remained unknown, acting Interior Minister Arsen Avakhov posted on his official Facebook page a rundown of where Yanukovych has been sighted since leaving Kyiv on Friday.
His departure came hours after signing an agreement on resolving Ukraine’s political crisis that reduced his powers and was seen by many as a tacit admission of defeat.
Avakhov said a warrant has been issued for the arrest of Yanukovych and several other officials for the “mass killing of civilians,” stemming from the deaths of protesters in Kyiv.
Here’s a look at Yanukovych’s movements since Friday, based on one TV appearance and the account by Avakhov:
A TV INTERVIEW IN KHARKIV
Yanukovych surfaced Saturday in the city of Kharkiv, 400 kilometres (250 miles) east of Kyiv, in the heartland of his base of support. In a videotaped interview, he bitterly likened opposition protesters to Nazis and declared he was still president and would not leave the country. That was his last public appearance.
FOILED AT THE AIRPORT IN DONETSK
From Kharkiv, Avakhov said Yanukovych, his chief of staff Andrit Klyuyev and his security guards flew Saturday by helicopter to the airport in Donetsk, his hometown, 230 kilometres (140 miles) to the south. There, he and his contingent transferred to two Falcon business jets and tried to fly off, but were prevented from leaving by border guards. Avakhov did not explain the basis for guards blocking the planes’ departure. Yanukovych spent a few hours in a state residence and then left about 10 p.m. in a convoy of automobiles, Avakhov said.
A SANATORIUM IN THE CRIMEAN PENINSULA
After a long night of driving, the cortege on Sunday reached the Crimean peninsula, which dangles into the Black Sea some 400 kilometres southwest of Donetsk. Instead of using a state residence in the area, the motorcade stopped at a private sanatorium, one of many that dot the popular resort area. There, Yanukoych learned that the parliament, which he once controlled with a firm majority, had granted presidential powers to the new speaker.
TO A MILITARY AIRPORT IN SEVASTOPOL
The group hastily left for the military airport in the city of Sevastopol, but learned that Avakhov and the new head of the national security service were there, according to the police account. They turned back.
A PRIVATE RESIDENCE IN BALACLAVA
Yanukovych and his entourage then went to a private residence in the town of Balaclava, arriving just before midnight, according to Avakhov. There, Yanukovych asked which of his security contingent wanted to stay with him. Finding that only a few were still loyal, he scrawled a note relinquishing his guards. Avakhov then wrote that Yanukovych, Klyuyev and the remaining loyal guards then got into three cars and “left in an unknown direction.”