TIME Ukraine

Ousted Ukraine Leader Vows to Keep Fighting

The deposed Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich said Friday that protesters who succeeded in driving him out of the capital last week only represent the “absolute minority” of the country, that he is still the country’s rightful leader, and that he’ll keep fighting for Ukraine’s future.

Speaking from Russia in his first comments since leaving the country, Yanukovich, who has insisted he’s still the country’s legitimate leader, pushed back against the notion that he was ousted from office.

“No one overthrew me,” he said. “I was forced to flee.”

And he blamed the “irresponsible actions of the West” for the protests that led to his downfall.

His comments came as tensions between the new Ukrainian government and Russia escalated Friday, with Ukraine saying Russia had mounted a “military invasion” after masked men took control of airports in the country’s Crimea region.

Yanukovich said he hasn’t met with Russian President Vladimir Putin since coming to Russia.

“I will return to Ukraine once the conditions of my security and security of my family are secured,” he said.

-with reporting from Simon Shuster

Your browser is out of date. Please update your browser at http://update.microsoft.com


Dear TIME Reader,

As a regular visitor to TIME.com, we are sure you enjoy all the great journalism created by our editors and reporters. Great journalism has great value, and it costs money to make it. One of the main ways we cover our costs is through advertising.

The use of software that blocks ads limits our ability to provide you with the journalism you enjoy. Consider turning your Ad Blocker off so that we can continue to provide the world class journalism you have become accustomed to.

The TIME Team