ROSTOV-ON-DON, Russia, May 12 (RIA Novosti) – Ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych has demanded the interim authorities immediately withdraw their troops as well as mercenaries from the southeastern Ukraine and condemned the rise of a fascist regime in the country.
“I urge you [Kiev’s authorities] to stop … No one can stay unpunished, but now you should stop the killing … Withdraw immediately the mercenaries and the troops from the territories of Donetsk, Luhansk, Odessa and other regions. Stop the violence and the terror against your own people,” Yanukovych said.
Yanukovych, who was ousted in February and maintains he remains the country’s legitimate president, said that the authorities in Kiev have passed the tipping point and that “fascism and gangsterism openly rule in the country.”
“After the armed coup, and the illegal seize of the power, we have lost [Ukraine’s unity]. Everywhere [in the country] hatred, fear, despair, revenge and open fascism and gangsterism reign, you [Kiev’s authorities] have already passed the tipping point,” he said.
According to Yanukovych, the death toll among civilians in the country has exceeded 300 people.
The ousted president compared the current situation in Ukraine with Nazi Germany and the tragedy in the southern port city of Odessa with the Auschwitz and Buchenwald concentration camps.
The Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs reported that at least 46 people had died and over 200 were injured in a fire at the Odessa Trade Union House on May 2, while local lawmaker Vadim Savchenko said some 116 died in the tragedy. Earlier reports said another 48 people were missing.
Following a regime change in late February, the citizens of the predominantly Russian-speaking southeastern regions of Ukraine refused to recognize the legitimacy of the country’s interim government and called for federalization and referendums on greater autonomy, with rallies sweeping through the region.
In response to the demands, Kiev launched a special operation to crack down on the protesters, leading to violent clashes with dozens of casualties. Moscow condemned the operation as a dangerous development.