Mystery in Ukraine: Where's the President Gone?

From president to runaway: Wanted for mass murder and shedding allies fast, deposed Yanukovych fled. To where?

Send in e-mailSend in e-mail

With his allies deserting him and his once-firm presidential power disintegrating, Viktor Yanukovych has fled Ukraine's capital by car and aircraft, heading for the parts of the country where he is most likely to find friends, according to the acting head of the police.

On Monday, as Yanukovych's exact whereabouts remained unknown, acting Interior Minister Arsen Avakhov posted on his official Facebook page a rundown of where Yanukovych has been sighted since leaving Kiev on Friday.

His departure came hours after signing an agreement on resolving Ukraine's political crisis that reduced his powers and was seen by many as a tacit admission of defeat.

Avakhov said a warrant has been issued for the arrest of Yanukovich and several other officials for the "mass killing of civilians," stemming from the deaths of protesters in Kiev.

Here's a look at Yanukovych's movements since Friday, based on one TV appearance and the account by Avakhov:

A TV interview in Kharkiv

Yanukovych surfaced Saturday in the city of Kharkiv, 400 kilometers (250 miles) east of Kiev, in the heartland of his base of support. In a videotaped interview, he bitterly likened opposition protesters to Nazis and declared he was still president and would not leave the country. That was his last public appearance.

Foiled at the airport in Donetsk

From Kharkiv, Avakhov said Yanukovych, his chief of staff Andrit Klyuyev and his security guards flew Saturday by helicopter to the airport in Donetsk, his hometown, 230 kilometers (140 miles) to the south. There, he and his contingent transferred to two Falcon business jets and tried to fly off, but were prevented from leaving by border guards. Avakhov did not explain the basis for guards blocking the planes' departure. Yanukovych spent a few hours in a state residence and then left about 10 p.m. in a convoy of automobiles, Avakhov said.

A sanatorium in the Crimean Peninsula

After a long night of driving, the cortege on Sunday reached the Crimean peninsula, which dangles into the Black Sea some 400 kilometers southwest of Donetsk. Instead of using a state residence in the area, the motorcade stopped at a private sanatorium, one of many that dot the popular resort area. There, Yanukoych learned that the parliament, which he once controlled with a firm majority, had granted presidential powers to the new speaker.

To a military airport in Sevastopol

The group hastily left for the military airport in the city of Sevastopol, but learned that Avakhov and the new head of the national security service were there, according to the police account. They turned back.

A private residence in Balaclava

Yanukovych and his entourage then went to a private residence in the town of Balaclava, arriving just before midnight, according to Avakhov. There, Yanukovych asked which of his security contingent wanted to stay with him. Finding that only a few were still loyal, he scrawled a note relinquishing his guards. Avakhov then wrote that Yanukovych, Klyuyev and the remaining loyal guards then got into three cars and "left in an unknown direction."

Viktor Yanukovych, left, shaking hands with Russian president Vladimir Putin, has somehow vanished. (File photo, Feb. 14, 2014)Credit: AP
File photo: Viktor Yanukovych crossing himself during a mass rally in the southern port city of Odessa.Credit: AFP

Comments

SUBSCRIBERS JOIN THE CONVERSATION FASTER

Automatic approval of subscriber comments.
From $1 for the first month

SUBSCRIBE
Already signed up? LOG IN

ICYMI

Charles Lindbergh addressing an America First Committee rally on October 3, 1941.

Ken Burns’ Brilliant ‘The U.S. and the Holocaust’ Has Only One Problem

The projected rise in sea level on a beach in Haifa over the next 30 years.

Facing Rapid Rise in Sea Levels, Israel Could Lose Large Parts of Its Coastline by 2050

Tal Dilian.

As Israel Reins in Its Cyberarms Industry, an Ex-intel Officer Is Building a New Empire

Queen Elizabeth II, King Charles III and a British synagogue.

How the Queen’s Death Changes British Jewry’s Most Distinctive Prayer

Newly appointed Israeli ambassador to Chile, Gil Artzyeli, poses for a group picture alongside Rabbi Yonatan Szewkis, Chilean deputy Helia Molina and Gerardo Gorodischer, during a religious ceremony in a synagogue in Vina del Mar, Chile last week.

Chile Community Leaders 'Horrified' by Treatment of Israeli Envoy

Queen Elizabeth attends a ceremony at Windsor Castle, in June 2021.

Over 120 Countries, but Never Israel: Queen Elizabeth II's Unofficial Boycott