MOSCOW, February 3 (RIA Novosti) – A Ukrainian opposition leader wanted for inciting mass anti-government protests said Monday that he had fled to the United Kingdom over fears that he could be arrested.
Oleksandr Danylyuk, who leads the Spilna Sprava (Common Cause) group, left Ukraine after police issued a warrant for his arrest in late January. He wrote on Facebook that he had crossed the border “on foot” and finally reached London on Monday. His wife and son flew to London last week.
“[Yulia] Tymoshenko proved that being in jail is noble, but non-effective. We are not planning to surrender ourselves to jail,” Danylyuk wrote on Facebook.
The activist faces up to 15 years behind bars for allegedly organizing riots in Ukraine that caused the death of people or serious harm to them, the Interior Ministry said.
The opposition group angered Ukrainian authorities by occupying three key government buildings in Kiev last week. Danylyuk, who claimed he was authorized to set up an interim government in Ukraine, said he would continue coordinating the group from abroad.
He told the Kyiv Post newspaper on Monday that the revolution in Ukraine was entering a decisive phase.
Another Ukrainian protest leader, Dmytro Bulatov, who was allegedly kidnapped and tortured last month, has left Kiev for medical treatment in Lithuania, media reported.
Protesters in Ukraine took to the streets in November after President Viktor Yanukovych backed off from signing landmark trade deals with the EU. The movement has since transformed into a loose coalition of opposition groups seeking Yanukovych’s ouster.