Arrest warrant issued for Ukraine's disgraced President Yanukovych

By Jeffrey Rindskopf,

Ukraine's acting interior minister Arsen Avakov has issued an arrest warrant for disgraced former President Viktor Yanukovych, for "mass killing of civilians."

The NY Daily News reports that Yanukovych has fled to the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea, a pro-Russian area in Ukraine.

Yanukovych is being accused for his recent troubles with Ukrainian protesters opposing his rule. In response, he sent in military forces, including snipers, resulting in the worst violence in Ukrainian's post-Soviet history and killing more than 80 people.

NBC News reports that Yanukovych stepped down from the presidency on Friday after signing a deal with protesters to do so and allow for early elections.

Since then, Ukraine's new parliament has been steadily passing new laws. The acting interior minister responded to calls to put Yanukovych on trial.

"An official case for the mass murder of peaceful citizens has been opened," Avakov wrote on his Facebook page. "Yanukovich and other people responsible for this have been declared wanted."

Russia's response to the changing political landscape in Ukraine has been less than favorable. Yanukovych's rule was controversial partially because he supported strengthening ties with Russia and weakening ties with the European Union (EU).

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev questioned the legitimacy of Ukraine's new government, saying they only came to power through "armed mutiny," causing "big doubts" on their authority to rule the nation.

Image: Wikimedia Commons

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