An Arrest Warrant For President Yanukovych Has Been Issued By Ukraine's Interim Government
The rapidly escalating political situation in Ukraine is reaching tipping point, but it's far from clear where the country will land. On Monday, a warrant was issued for the arrest of Ukrainian President Viktor F. Yanukovych, along with other political officials, charging the now-ousted leader of “mass murder of peaceful citizens." And he's still nowhere to be found.
The announcement was made by Ukraine’s acting interior minister via Facebook (opposition groups often seem to be social-media savvy). “An official case for the mass murder of peaceful citizens has been opened,” the minister, Arsen Avakov, wrote on his Facebook page.“Yanukovych and other people responsible for this have been declared wanted."
And it looks like things will keep getting worse for Yanukovych, who was last seen yesterday driving through the Crimean peninsula. No one knows where he's headed, or if he's there yet -- either way, the move has painted him in a pretty bad light. His former political group, the Party of Regions, called the escape a “cowardly flight," and on Monday, they announced they would be switching sides. Which is a big deal; they're the largest party in the Ukrainian parliament.
"Given that you took the power in your hands, and we can see you have all the capabilities of forming a government and building structures of power, we have decided that we shall be in the opposition," faction leader Oleksandr Yefremov told the opposition Monday morning.
None of this will be making Russia very happy. It was under the Kremlin's pressure that Yanukovych's chose not to sign a trade agreement with the EU, sparking the protests that have now turned into a full-blown revolution. And one of the new, acting government’s top priorities? “Returning to a path of European integration.” So you can see why the U.S. felt the need to warn Russia just yesterday that it would be a "grave mistake" for Vladimir Putin to send troops into Ukraine.
To which Russia reportedly responded Monday: "We have seen the expert evaluations of Susan Rice, which are based on repeated US military interventions in multiple places around the world, especially where the US administration is of the opinion that the norms of Western democracy are in danger or ruling regimes begin too clearly ‘to get out hand."
They added: "We consider that the current presidential adviser will give this kind of advice about the error of using force to the US leadership in the event of a decision about a new intervention."
In other words: Don't call us black, kettle.