Ousted Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych spoke Tuesday from Rostov-on-Don, Russia, saying a junta in Kiev had provoked Crimea to secede by spreading lawlessness and refusing to protect civilians from violence. Here is a transcript of his remarks via an interpreter from Federal News Service.
(In progress) I would like to say that I am alive, although I cannot say that I feel very well, because I feel a deep and profound concern over what is happening in Ukraine now. Disguised behind a veneer of an allegedly legitimate government, there is a gang of ultranationalists and fascists now acting in Ukraine involving people who are now aspiring to presidential office. These people are firing security officials, both in the center, in Kiev, but also in Ukrainian (regions ?). The cities are being patrolled by masked gunmen, and there is an increasing flow of lawlessness against Ukrainians.
This new government is firing officers from the army, those officers who do not want this lawlessness to be committed against civilians. Just think of it. They want the army to act as (bandanna ?) gangs, and they want a civil war to break out. They want to engage militants from nationalist organizations and to arm them. I would like to ask their patrons in the West, those who patronize these dark forces, are you blinded by what is happening? Have you lost your memory? Have you forgotten what fascism is?
But I’m convinced that officers and soldiers in Ukraine know the truth very well. Unlike all the European ministers and leaders who signed an agreement that guarantees civil peace in Ukraine, and who trampled on this agreement, unlike the gangs in the Maidan who shot at their own people, these soldiers and officers understand what it is all about, and they will not follow these orders.
I would like to remind you that I am not only the -- not only the legitimate president of Ukraine, but I’m also the chief of staff, the commander of the army.
I am alive, and I have not been impeached, according to the Ukrainian constitution.
The United States and a number of other countries have been stressing that I have allegedly lost my legitimacy because I fled the country. Let me say again: I never fled anywhere. While the radicals were attacking and seizing constitutional and public and government buildings, as you all know very well, I was in Ukraine, in Kharkiv in particular, and later I went to Donetsk and to the Crimea. During the coup, I never left the territory of Ukraine.
These days, there have been quite a few attempted terrorist actions against me, but they failed. And I’m sure that once the situation becomes better in a way, I will return to Kiev immediately. Let me assure you that the presidential elections to take place on the 25th of May will be totally illegitimate and illegal, and they run counter to the Article 103 of the Ukrainian Constitution, because these elections will be run by a junta that took power in Ukraine.
It is also clearly understood that if this election does take place, it will be totally controlled by extremists. I would like the international community to understand that they must not and should support nonconstitutional coups.
I believe everyone knows is -- and is well aware of the U.S. government’s decision to pay $1 billion to this nonconstitutional junta. But as far as I know, American laws prohibit the American government from providing financial assistance to a government that trampled a legitimate president.
I’m going to (apply ?) to the U.S. Congress, the U.S. Senate and the U.S. Supreme Court, asking them to give an assessment, a legal assessment to the actions of this Ukrainian government. You do not have any legal grounds to provide any financial assistance to these bandits, to these gangs.
I would like you to warn that the economic situation in Ukraine is going to degenerate, and those who usurp the power are going to shift the blame for this economic crisis on my shoulders, and perhaps even on Russia. I will never agree to that. I have nothing to do (with this ?) at all. These actions they are planning to cut down on welfare benefits and pensions, I believe that they are totally inhumane. My government and me, we had a clear plan on maintaining the Ukrainians’ living standards. Now, after the unconstitutional coup and after these junta usurped power, they made it totally impossible. The people who did this are going to be made responsible for firing shots at your own people, for torturing your own people.
Ukraine is going through a very tough time now. Because of your actions, Crimea is going to secede. And these people are demanding their rights to be complied with.
But you must know that one day the country will unite. The people will never be as blinded.
And I would like to say: Glory to Ukraine, and I hope everything will be fine in my country.