Just a week ago, Yanukovich was the President of Ukraine. Now, he is wanted for murder in conjunction with the shootings of dozens of protestors in the streets of Kiev. He is on the run; after broadcasting a message from Kharkov denouncing the legitimacy of the current government, he has been on the run ever since.
Ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich was on the run on Monday, possibly somewhere in southern Ukraine, hunted by police for what opposition leaders call mass murder linked to the revolt against his rule. Scores were killed in the uprising.As the news report indicates, he has been deserted by his closest allies and the authorities will not let him leave the country for safe haven.
There were scattered reports Monday that volunteer militias have been forming in Yanukovich-supporting parts of the country, stoking fears that violence between pro-Western and pro-Russian Ukrainians could erupt. The U.S. State Department issued a warning on travel to the country, saying there were reports of sporadic violence against travelers and journalists.
Yanukovich, 63, now accompanied only by his chief aide and a handful of security guards, was thought to have been in the pro-Russian stronghold of Crimea on Sunday after zigzagging furtively around eastern Ukraine in a bid to find a safe haven. He and his entourage shut down their communication systems, Ukraine's interim Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said, in a move to avoid being tracked.
Given that Eastern Ukraine has much closer ties with Russia, it is still possible that the country will split. As long as the country remains polarized between the pro-EU west and the pro-Russia east, this sort of turmoil will continue. And with Yulia Timoshenko having been released from prison, that will polarize the situation even further as she is either loved or hated. This revolution, therefore, will not be the final word in the situation, but one battle among many.
Given our country's past history, this will be widely perceived as a US-backed coup. The challenge for Timoshenko and her allies, now that they are back in power, is to prove to the Ukranian people that they will chart their own course regardless of who is trying to pull strings. And the new government will have to reign in the far right in order to debunk some of the more inflammatory claims that this was reminiscent of the Brown Shirt rise to power in 1933.
Russia still has a very strong pull in the situation. They supply the EU with oil through pipelines that run through Ukraine and they can either try to drive up prices of oil or shut off the flow altogether. And many people who live in Ukraine do not consider themselves Ukranian, but Russian. The two countries have extensive historic ties dating as far back as the 9th century. They have religious ties as well, with both Ukraine and Russia being Orthodox.
This could very well result in some sort of compromise. France, Germany, and other EU countries have been affected by the NSA spying scandal, seriously damaging relations with the US. This is the sort of long-term damage that cannot be easily repaired. It is, therefore, a natural inclination for these countries to want closer ties with Russia. We could, therefore, see some sort of compromise between the EU and Russia restore some sort of order to Ukraine.