New Gov't Delayed, Ukraine's Growing Fear Is a Split

As everyone tries to figure out where Yanukovich fled to
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 25, 2014 7:01 AM CST
Updated Feb 25, 2014 7:47 AM CST
New Gov't Delayed, Ukraine's Growing Fear Is a Split
An anti-Yanukovich protester, wearing a Ukrainian flag with the name of his village written across it, places flowers at a memorial for the people killed in clashes with the police at Kiev's Independence Square.   (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

Viktor Yanukovich isn't the only thing absent in Kiev. There's also no new government, something that interim leader Oleksandr Turchinov had indicated would be in place today. That timeline has now been pushed to Thursday, with Turchinov saying more time was needed to ensure a "coalition of national faith" was installed—a statement made alongside another warning of the "serious threat" of separatism, reports the BBC. Pro-Russia regions have seen protests against Yanukovich's removal, and in Crimea's Sevastopol (where Russia operates a sizable naval base), protesters yesterday yelled "Russia! Russia!" outside city hall, and swapped a Ukrainian flag for Russia's. More:

  • But speaking of Sevastopol, officials there say they have no clue where Yanukovich is, though a local TV station claimed he was holed up in the naval base and intended to sail for Russia. In the Guardian's telling, there are few facts regarding his whereabouts, but plenty of rumors. Interim interior minister Arsen Avakov says Yanukovich was seen leaving a home in Balaklava around midnight on Sunday with a few bodyguards who remained loyal to him. (A girlfriend may have gone along, too, notes the New York Times.)
  • Avakov seems to be leading the hunt for Yanukovich, and issued a plea on Facebook that citizens and border guards stop any attempts Yanukovich might make to leave. The Times reports that he is believed to have severed "all forms of communication," and has been fleeing by car and helicopter. By last night, the stories were coming fast and furious: He was in Sevastopol, or still in Balaklava, or on his yacht, or hiding in a monastery near Donetsk.
  • Who did Yanukovich have contact with in the US before vanishing? Joe Biden. The AP reports that Biden "was at the forefront of the delicate diplomatic maneuvering" on behalf of the White House, and spoke to Yanukovich by phone nine times during the three-month crisis, which the AP terms "an unusual level of contact." Biden last spoke with him two days before he fled Kiev, and hung up uncertain as to Yanukovich's next move.
  • As far as foreign governments go, Russia spoke out today, reports Reuters, with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warning that the country shouldn't be forced to side with either Russia or the West. "It is dangerous and counterproductive to try to force upon Ukraine a choice on the principle: 'You are either with us or against us.'"
(More Ukraine stories.)

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