Viktor Yanukovych: Ukraine's acting government issues arrest warrant for ousted president.

Ukraine's New Government Wants Ousted President Arrested For Mass Murder

Ukraine's New Government Wants Ousted President Arrested For Mass Murder

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Feb. 24 2014 10:30 AM

Ukraine's New Government Wants Ousted President Arrested For Mass Murder

People leave flowers on a makeshift memorial in homage to anti-government protesters killed in the past weeks' clashes with riot police on Kiev's Independence Square on February 24, 2014

Photo by Bulent Kilic/AFP/Getty Images

Ukraine's acting government on Monday announced a manhunt for Viktor Yanukovych, the deposed president they want to see tried on charges of mass murder in connection with the killings of dozens of anti-government protesters during the bloody struggle that ultimately led to his ouster, according to the New York Times:

Josh Voorhees Josh Voorhees

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City.

[Ukraine’s acting interior minister] minister, Arsen Avakov, who was appointed by Parliament on Saturday, wrote on his Facebook page that he was personally involved in the manhunt and had traveled to the Crimea city of Sevastopol on Sunday night hoping to intercept Mr. Yanukovych at the airport there, but that the deposed president had not turned up as expected. He said Mr. Yanukovych had then fled in an unknown direction, traveling by car, and with a diminished security detail.
The pursuit of Mr. Yanukovych, a man now widely despised even by many of his former supporters, gripped the nation on Monday, as the Parliament continued its efforts to rebuild the government, with hopes of appointing an acting prime minister and having the rest of a provisional government in place on Tuesday.

Yanukovych has been on the run since signing an accord with the opposition on Friday, and is believed to have left Kiev for eastern Ukraine, a region that is more pro-Russia than much of the rest of the country and where Russia maintains a large naval base in Sevastopol. If Yanukovych is arrested and put on trial, the charges could ultimately extend beyond his actions during the protests to include the rest of his tumultuous presidency in which he consolidated power and enriched his friends and family in the process.

The new government's decision to hunt for Yanukovych has—like much as what has happened recently in the country of 46 million—put the West and Russia at odds yest again. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on Monday questioned the legitimacy of the new Ukrainian authorities, saying there are "big doubts" about their legitimacy because they came to power as a result of what he called an "armed mutiny." Europe, meanwhile, has largely backed the new government, the Associated Press notes. European Commission spokesman Olivier Bailly referred to parliament speaker Oleksandr Turchinov as the "interim president" earlier today and said that visiting EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton will meet with Turchinov later today in Kiev.

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