Feb. 22 - Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich says he will not resign or leave Ukraine, denounces what is happening in the country as a coup. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) President Viktor Yanukovich denounced on Saturday what he described as a "coup d'etat" by gangsters who were terrorizing Ukraine and said he would not flee the country or let it be torn apart. Ukraine's parliament on Saturday voted to remove Yanukovich, who abandoned his Kiev office to protesters after a week of fighting in the streets of the capital, Kiev. In an interview, which was handed out by the Presidential Press Service, the president looked exhausted but appeared to have suffered no injuries after an incident in which he said his car had come under fire. "I am absolutely confident that this is an example - which our country and the whole world has seen - an example of a coup." said Yanukovich, who stood in a dark suit and blue tie. "We are witnessing the return of the Nazis, the time when in 1930s the Nazis came to power in Germany and Austria. It is the same now." It was not clear where the interview was conducted although Yanukovich is thought to be in the northeastern city of Kharkiv. A day after signing an agreement with the opposition on resolving weeks of crisis, he has lost control of his presidential headquarters and the Interior Ministry which controls the police has turned against him. Refusing to recognize the legitimacy of laws and resolutions approved by parliament on Saturday, after the speaker loyal to him quit citing ill health, Yanukovich said: I will not sign anything with gangsters who today terrorize the whole country and the Ukrainian people, put Ukraine to shame." He said his car had been shot at but did now say where or when. "My car was shot at. But I have no fear. I'm engulfed by sorrow for our country. I feel responsibility," he said. A day after signing an agreement with the opposition on resolving weeks of crisis, he has lost control of his presidential headquarters and the Interior Ministry, which controls the police has turned against him. The Ukrainian parliament, which meets in Kiev, on Saturday declared Yanukovich constitutionally unable to carry out his duties and set an early election for May 25. Parliament also freed his arch-nemesis, former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko, who walked free from the hospital where she had been jailed, completing a radical transformation in the former Soviet republic of 46 million people. The apparent toppling of the pro-Russian leader after bloodshed in Kiev that saw 77 people killed and the center of the capital transformed into a blazing inferno, looks likely to pull Ukraine away from Moscow's orbit and closer to Europe.