Ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych issued a statement Thursday condemning the country’s interim government and maintaining that he is still head of state, RIA Novosti reported.
The fugitive president, whose whereabouts have been the subject of feverish speculation, said he had been forced to ask Russia to ensure his personal security from “extremists.”
“Everything that is happening now in the Supreme Rada of Ukraine is illegitimate,” Yanukovych said in a statement distributed to Russian news agencies. “All decisions will quickly show their ineffectiveness and will not be fulfilled.”
Anonymous government sources said Thursday that Russia had accepted Yanukovych’s request for security and that the fugitive leader was currently on Russian territory.
Yanukovych is wanted in Ukraine on mass murder charges related to the deaths of protesters and was last seen in the Crimean seaside town of Balaklava on Sunday evening, according to Ukraine’s Interior Ministry.