After leaving Kiev and relinquishing his duties, Viktor Yanukovych was seen traveling to the pro-Russian city of Kharkiv in the north-east on Saturday. Announcing on the local TV channel UBR, he said he was denounced and was subjected to a coup d’etat by fellow politicians. The country’s parliament, Verkhovna Rada, made an announcement fighting back against his claims. In an emergency session, the assembly ruled that Yanukovich had “unconstitutionally given up his responsibilities and is unable to carry out his duties.” The decision, backed by 328 votes out of 340 seats, ousted Yanukovich and set an early election day for May 25. Contradictions later occurred within parliament as some MPs said that Yanukovych was not stripped of his powers, but only scheduled a date for polls. Party of Regions member, Sergey Tigipko said: ” We did not dismiss Viktor Yanukovich. If he stays in Ukraine over the three remaining months, he will be able to carry out his duties as the president.”
It is now reported that he was last seen in Crimea, a region with strong Russian influences but he has since disappeared. A tug of war between the pro-Russia east and the pro-EU west has emerged with both Brussels and Moscow wading into the skirmish. With Ukraine seemingly in a gas fuelled strangle hold by Moscow, politicians have faced mounting dissent by protesters causing at least 77 deaths and hundreds of injured in central Kiev. Thousands of protesters still stand in Independence square of Kiev, waiting for progress to continue. Upon the impeachment decision, Yulia Tymoshenko, former president of Ukraine was freed from jail and travelled from Kharkiv to Kiev.Ukraine is currently under interim control by Tymoshenko’s close colleague, Olexander Turchynov until Tuesday where they hope to form a new unity government for the time being.
The autonomous south of Ukraine, the Crimean region is now seen as the next flashpoint in the divide as pro-Russian protests have occurred in the town of Kirch. Having only shifted to Ukrainian control in the 1950s, the deep Russian roots have been sown and most notably, the port city of Sevastopol is largely seen as Chrimea’s main Russian political contingent having formerly being called “the city of Russian glory” since the Chrimean wars. This is where the next stop was predicted to be made by Ukraine’s impeached president, Viktor Yanukovych before his disappearance.
With the protests now dying down in Kiev, dissent must be controlled nationwide. Statues of former Soviet president, Lenin, have been taken down in Ukrainian cities. Statues were reportedly brought down in the south-eastern city of Dnipropetrovsk; the central city of Poltava; the northern city of Chernihiv; in Pereyaslav-Khmelnytskyy, Brovary and Boyarka in Kiev Region and in the city of Zhytomyr in northern Ukraine according to Kanal 5 TV.
Police units have been sworn in allegiance to the current interim government. In this crisis the national army has also pledged to stay neutral so a crackdown on violence may be unlikely. What is interesting is what will happen to the police snipers that were filmed shooting at protesters; at least two police marksmen were seen taking aim with telescopic sights mounted to their guns in plain view and potentially many more could be investigated.
A potential president for Ukraine may be the unlikely former boxer, Vitali Klitschko who is the leader of the pro-EU Udar Movement. Popular with voters due to his heavy-weight boxing days and is free of political corruption, he often criticised Yanukovych for running the country like his own personal plaything, electing allies into top jobs. The recent release of Yulia Tymoshenko has caused some unceratinty as to what extent her influece will be felt as many politicians still distrust her.
An uncertain future for Ukraine is imminent and what direction the political hierarchy will make is ambiguous at best.
More to follow…
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