Party of Regions lays blame for fatalities on Yanukovych
"Now Ukraine is living through one of the most difficult and tragic periods in its history," the faction said in a statement. "The country finds itself deceived and robbed, but even this is nothing in comparison with the grief that dozens of Ukrainian families, who have lost their relatives, are feeling. Ukraine has been betrayed. Viktor Yanukovych and his team are responsible for this."
"We, the Party of Regions of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine and our party members, strongly condemn the criminal orders that led to human losses, to the depletion of the state treasury and the drastic debt increase that shamed the government in the eyes of Ukrainians and the rest of the world. As a result, our country found itself on the edge of a precipice, faced the threat of break-up and loss of national sovereignty. The president failed to heed our advise when it was given to him," the Party of Regions says.
It was also stated that the group represents the interests of more than 10 million voters and more than 1 million party members. The Party of Regions is a union of ordinary, hardworking people who love their land, their fellow countrymen, our ranks are filled with manufacturers, scientists, workers, doctors and teachers. We have come into Parliament to serve Ukraine and its people. Differences of opinion and ideology are not obstacles that could prevent us from working together for the benefit of Ukraine. We may have different standpoints, but our aim is to ensure that our state is united, strong and independent,” the document reads.
"We condemn the cowardly flight of Viktor Yanukovych. We condemn the betrayal on his part. We condemn the criminal orders, which exposed common people, soldiers and officers to certain risks" the party states.
At the same time, the Party of Regions’ deputies noted that "any attempts at intimidation and lynching, as well as the intent to destabilize the situation in the regions is not acceptable in a democratic society".
"Dear fellow party members, we appeal to all of you, the Party of Regions deputies of the Verkhovna Rada, of the provincial, municipal and local councils, to all the patriots of our party. We will do everything in order to defend you and to protect you from all those mistakes and crimes that have been made. The Party of Regions has more than a hundred people’s deputies and continues to work for the people who have always trusted in us and for the benefit of the whole of Ukraine," the statement reads.
Ukrainian lawmakers on Sunday appointed parliament speaker Oleksandr Turchynov as interim president, a day after they voted to oust President Viktor Yanukovych following three months of protests.
Deputies voted by an overwhelming margin for Turchynov to become acting head of state until new elections are held on May 25. Yanukovych, whose whereabouts are unknown, insisted on Saturday that he remained in charge.
Viktor Yanukovych previously rejected opposition calls to voluntarily step down, which would have saved parliament from following constitutional impeachment procedures. The Verkhovna Rada however, which sees itself as the only legitimate body in Ukraine, decided to replace the president without impeachment.
Turchinov was elected the new parliamentary speaker on Saturday after his predecessor, Vladimir Rybak, resigned his position following the opposition taking control of the legislature.
Parliament is considering a number of key decisions that need to be taken in order to assume full power in Ukraine, including appointing a new prime minister, a new prosecutor general and other top officials.
It has also voted to oust top figures of the Yanukovych government, with the latest victims being acting Foreign Minister, Leonid Kozhara, acting Education Minister Dmitry Tabachnik and acting health minister Raisa Bogatyryova.
Among other bills parliament is to consider are one outlawing Yanukovich’s Party of Regions and the Ukrainian Communist Party, both of which have elected MPs in the parliament. Another seeks to censor Russian media, accusing them of biased reporting on the protests in Ukraine.
The new authorities in Kiev say they are seeking the arrest of former senior officials, like former Incomes Minister Aleksandr Klimenko and former Prosecutor General Viktor Pshonka. Both were reportedly stopped on Saturday by border control, as they tried to leave teh country, due to lack of proper paperwork.
Legitimization of the power grab comes a day after several regions in eastern and southern Ukraine announced that they no longer considered the Ukrainian parliament legitimate and would not abide by its orders. The regions also said they would form local militias to resist possible incursions by radical activists from western Ukraine and Kiev.
The three month-long political crisis in Ukraine escalated on Tuesday, with radical opposition activists and riot police engaged in two days of gunfighting in Kiev, resulting in some 80 people losing their lives. In the face of the bloodshed, the central Ukrainian government collapsed under opposition pressure, while President Yanukovych left the capital for the east of the country.
Voice of Russia, AFP, RT, TASS