The Corner

Where’s Viktor? Ousted Ukraine Leader Goes Missing

Nearly a full day after Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych departed his country’s capital, Kiev, leaving it to the protesters who have called for his removal for three months and the parliament that voted to do just that Saturday, no one seems to know where he is. 

On Saturday, ousted Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych told an interviewer he would stay in the country and reverse the “coup d’etat” that had occurred. But that evening he boarded a jet in Donetsk, a city in the Russophone eastern part of the country, and tried to flee across the border. Oleh Slobodyan of the State Border Guard service told the AP Sunday that the plane lacked the proper documentation and was not allowed to leave. Two men came out of the plane and tried to bribe the border guards to let the plane go. When that request was refused, an armored car drove up and spirited Yanukovych away.

Yanukovych’s movements since remain unknown, and even his spokesman told the AP that he has no information where his boss is.

But some henchmen of his have been located. Former prosecutor general Viktor Pshonka and former income and tax minister Oleksandr Klimenko were prevented by border guards from leaving the country at the Donetsk airport. So too was former interior minister Vitaliy Zakharchenko who was fired by parliament on Friday after being blamed for the deaths of more than 60 civilians in last week’s demonstrations. All three men were told they “lacked the proper documents” to exit the country.

Meanwhile, back in Kiev, leaders of the protesting movement are reconstructing government documents from the presidential palace that were thrown in a local river in an attempt to destroy them.  Perhaps when they have been examined, it will be discovered they represent the “proper documents” that will be needed to prosecute former leaders of the Yanukovych regime.


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