As rival neighbors east and west of the former Soviet republic
said a power vacuum in Kiev must not lead to the country breaking
apart, acting President Oleksander Turchinov said Ukraine's new
leaders wanted relations with Russia on a "new, equal and
good-neighborly footing that recognizes and takes into account
Ukraine's European choice".
European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton was travelling
to Ukraine to discuss measures to shore up the ailing economy, which
the finance ministry said needs $35 billion in foreign aid over the
next two years.
Russian-backed Yanukovich, 63, who fled Kiev by helicopter on
Friday, is still at large after heading first to his eastern power
base, where he was prevented from flying out of the country, and
then diverting south to the Crimea, acting interior minister Arsen
"An official case for the mass murder of peaceful citizens has been
opened," Avakov wrote on his Facebook profile. "Yanukovich and other
people responsible for this have been declared wanted."
Yanukovich had left a private residence in Balaclava, in the
Russian-speaking Crimea, for an unknown destination by car with one
of his aides and a handful of security guards, Avakov said.
It was an ignominious political end for Yanukovich who has been
publicly deserted by some of his closest erstwhile allies, stripped
of his luxury residence outside Kiev and had to witness the return
of his arch-rival Yulia Tymoshenko.
Russia recalled its ambassador from Kiev for consultations on
Sunday, accusing the opposition of having torn up a transition
agreement with the president it supported.
In a sign of nervousness over how Moscow may react, Oleh Tyahnybok,
a far-right nationalist who was one of three opposition leaders who
negotiated with Yanukovich on Friday, said the Defence Ministry
should check out reports that Russian troops might gather on
He gave no details and did not suggest such troop movements had
actually taken place. Interfax news agency later quoted Ukrainian
border guards as saying there was no sign of any Russian troop
movements near the border.
Tyahnybok said a boat was due to arrive in the Crimean port of
Sevastopol with 200 Russian commandos. Russia's Black Sea fleet is
based in Sevastopol and its forces come and go freely. It was not
clear whether this was a long-scheduled arrival.
On Independence Square in central Kiev, cradle of the uprising,
barricades of old furniture and car tires remained in place, with
smoke rising from camp fires among tents occupied by diehards vowing
to stay until elections in May.
The mood among the few hundred on the square was a mixture of
fatigue, sorrow for the 82 people killed last week, and a sense of
victory after three months of protests.
A large video screen by the side of the stage was showing the faces
of the dead, one after another, on a loop.
"Now is not the time for celebrating. We are still at war. We will
stay here as long as we have to," said Grigoriy Kuznetsov, 53,
dressed in black combat fatigues.
Galina Kravchuk, a middle-aged woman from Kiev, was holding a
carnation. "We are looking to Europe now. We have hope. We want to
join Europe, " she said.
Russia on Sunday recalled its ambassador in Ukraine for
consultations on the "deteriorating situation" in Kiev.
A day after Yanukovich fled, parliament named its new speaker,
Turchinov, as interim head of state. An ally of the ousted leader's
rival, Yulia Tymoshenko, he aims to swear in a government by Tuesday
that can run things until a presidential election on May 25.
With battle-hardened, pro-Western protesters in control of Kiev and
determined to hold their former leaders to account, lawmakers rushed
through decisions to cement their power, show their rejection of
rampant corruption and bring to justice officials who ordered police
to fire on Independence Square.
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Whoever takes charge faces a huge challenge to satisfy popular
expectations and will find an economy in deep crisis and which faces
state debt payments of around $6 billion in the remainder of this
The Finance Ministry said it needed $35 billion in foreign
assistance over the next two years and appealed for urgent aid. It
called for a donors' conference involving representatives of the
European Union, the United States and the International Monetary
The hryvnia currency fell by 3.8 percent on Monday after the weekend
drama before recovering slightly. The cost of insuring Ukraine's
debt fell on hopes that the country would now receive aid and avoid
default, while sovereign dollar bonds recorded gains on expectations
that a new government would focus on the economy.
Scuffles in Crimea and some eastern cities between supporters of the
new order in Kiev and those anxious to stay close to Moscow revived
fears of separatism. A week ago those concerns were focused on the
west, where Ukrainian nationalists had disowned Yanukovich and
President Barack Obama's national security adviser, Susan Rice, was
asked on U.S. television about the possibility of Russia sending
troops to Ukraine, which President Vladimir Putin had hoped
Yanukovich would keep closely allied to Moscow.
"That would be a grave mistake," Rice said on Sunday. "It's not in
the interests of Ukraine or of Russia or of Europe or the United
States to see a country split."
Yanukovich's flight left Putin's Ukraine policy in tatters, on a day
he had hoped eyes would be on the grand finale to the Sochi
Olympics. The Kremlin leader spoke on Sunday with German Chancellor
Angela Merkel, whose foreign minister had brokered a short-lived
truce in Kiev on Friday.
They agreed Ukraine's "territorial integrity" must be maintained,
Merkel's spokesman said.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague was asked if Russia might
"send in the tanks" to defend its interests. "It would really not be
in the interests of Russia to do any such thing," he told the BBC.
Earlier this month, a Kremlin aide had warned that Moscow could
It is unlikely the United States and its allies in NATO would risk
an outright military confrontation with Russia, but such echoes of
the Cold War underline the high stakes in Ukraine, whose 46 million
people and sprawling territory are caught in a geopolitical tug of
EU officials offered financial aid to a new government and to revive
a trade deal that Yanukovich spurned under Russian pressure in
November, sparking the protests that drove him from office.
In addition to any economic assistance the EU might offer, the
United States has also promised help through the International
Monetary Fund, which has demanded painful economic reforms as a
In Russia, where Putin had wanted Ukraine as a key part in a union
of ex-Soviet states, the finance minister said the next tranche of a
$15 billion loan package agreed to in December would not be paid, at
least before a new government is formed.
(Additional reporting by Timothy Heritage, Matt Robinson, Alessandra
Prentice and Richard Balmforth; writing by Giles Elgood; editing by
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