Ukrainian officers and soldiers loyal to their oaths will not take criminal orders from the coup-imposed government in Kiev, ousted President Viktor Yanukovich told reporters.
He added that as a legitimate head of state he also remains commander-in-chief of Ukraine.
“I am still alive and I am still the legitimate president,” Yanukovich said Tuesday in a statement to the media in the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don.
He accused the coup-imposed government of “shooting your own people” in an apparent reference to the allegations that somebody in the current government hired snipers to shoot at both protesters and police officers during the February confrontation and escalate the violence. The new authorities in Kiev “will sooner or later be held accountable for the suffering of the people,” Yanukovich said.
Yanukovich blasted western officials who had recognized the government in Kiev, despite the way it came into power and its connection to right-wing radicals.
“Are you blind? Have you forgotten what fascism is?” he said.
He criticized Washington for its decision to provide a $1 billion loan to the new authorities in Kiev, saying that US law forbids financial support for any government that came to power in a military coup, ousting a legitimately elected head of state. Yanokovich said he would appeal to American legislators to assess the perceived violation.
Yanukovich warned that Ukrainians are facing a serious fall in their living standards due to economic austerity measures that Kiev will have to take to secure western aid. The authorities will blame Yanukovich and probably Russia for this, he predicted, adding that these would be false accusations.
He also mentioned the defiance towards Kiev in Crimea and eastern Ukraine.
“Your actions led to Crimea splitting away, to people in the east demanding respect for their rights even at gunpoint,” he said, addressing the Kiev authorities.
He neither endorsed nor condemned Crimea's upcoming referendum on whether to become independent from Ukraine and join the Russian Federation.
He denounced the presidential election in Ukraine planned for May 25, saying that under the circumstances it would not be representative.
Yanukovich dismissed the notion that he had lost legitimacy after fleeing Ukraine and pledged to return to Kiev “as soon as the circumstances allow it.” He added he believed that would be soon.
Yanukovich was overthrown on February 22 in what Russia considers was an armed coup committed with the help of armed radical activists. The new authorities declared him deposed in violation of constitutional impeachment procedures and formed a new government.
While western countries hailed the development and support Kiev, Russia considers it illegitimate and insists on forming a new inclusive national reconciliation government. Such a move is part of a deal, which Yanukovich and protesters struck just before his ousting, with three European nations signing in to it. Western countries believe the deal to be irrelevant due to Yanukovich leaving Ukraine.