‘I am still alive and I am still the legitimate president,’ Yanukovych said Tuesday in a statement to the media in the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don.
He accused the current government of ‘shooting your own people’ and blasted western officials who had recognized the government in Kyiv and ‘its connection to right-wing radicals’.
‘Are you blind? Have you forgotten what fascism is?’ Russia Today quotes him as saying.
Yanukovych dismissed the notion that he had lost legitimacy after fleeing Ukraine and pledged to return to Kyiv ‘as soon as the circumstances allow it.’ He added he believed that would be soon.
He neither endorsed nor condemned Crimea’s upcoming referendum on whether to become independent from Ukraine and join the Russian Federation.
The press conference hardly lasted 10 minutes. Mr Yanukovych left without answering journalists’ questions.
It is to be recalled that the Crimean parliament resolved ‘to enter into the Russian Federation with the rights of a subject of the Russian Federation’. The Crimean people will be asked two questions in the 16 March referendum:
1) Are you in favour of reuniting Crimea with Russia as a subject of the Russian Federation?
2) Are you in favour of retaining the status of Crimea as part of Ukraine?
The scheduled referendum was condemned by the Ukrainian authorities and international community. The UN Security Council, excluding Russia, refused to find it legal saying that all Ukrainians should vote, not only the residents of Crimea.