Demonstrators carry a symbolic coffin with a names list of opponents who died in the Ukrainian crisis during a demonstration in support of the Ukrainian opposition on Saturday in
(AFP PHOTO / DPA /
AFP – A new era opened in
Yanukovych's whereabouts remained a mystery amid claims he tried and failed to escape the country and was hiding out in the east, his historic power base, where localised, minor clashes erupted overnight.
But his rule appeared all but finished as journalists combed through his abandoned presidential residence looking for incriminating documents and the opposition-controlled parliament set a Tuesday deadline for the formation of a new government and appointed its own new speaker, Oleksandr Turchynov, as interim president.
Residents lay flowers on shrines to the fallen, some crying as they looked at their photos or at shields dotted with bullet holes — potent examples of the dramatic escalation in the protest movement this week that saw nearly 100 die in clashes between demonstrators and security forces.
Western countries cautiously welcomed the dizzying political changes sweeping
At a G20 meeting in
US Treasury Secretary
The crisis in
The unrest soon became a wider geopolitical tussle between
According to media reports, some 40 statues of Lenin, the
Meanwhile, a protest by pro-Russians was planned for Sunday afternoon in the southern port city of Sevastopol, which still houses
Mostly, though, Ukrainians were still reeling from the onslaught of change and violence unleashed over the past week.
After three days of deadly guerilla warfare in central
A day later, the president left the capital, the police pledged its support to the "people", the army said it would not get involved, members of his
Parliament promptly voted to oust Yanukovych and hold early presidential elections on 25 May.
"This is a political knockout for Yanukovych," said charismatic former boxer-turned-opposition leader Vitali Klitschko.
In another dramatic twist, parliament also voted to free
Upon release, the 53-year-old headed straight to
"I did not recognise
The appearance of Yanukovych's bitter foe on the square would have been unthinkable just a few days ago, much like the fate of the president himself.
Even Yanukovych's closely guarded mansion near the capital became a free-for-all, city residents gawping in awe and anger at the luxury of a sprawling estate that featured a private zoo and a replica galleon floating on an artificial waterway.
Parliament voted to hand the residence back to the state.
One of Yanukovych's country residences in the
But still he remained defiant, appearing on television Saturday to denounce a "coup" and vowing not to step down before trying and failing to fly out of the country, according to border police.
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