MOSCOW, March 3 (RIA Novosti) – Ukrainian officials have begun criminal proceedings against ousted President Viktor Yanukovych for attempting to violate the constitution, the Ukrainian UNIAN news agency reported.
The country earlier put Yanukovych on an international wanted list on mass murder charges for allegedly orchestrating clashes between police and anti-government protesters in Kiev that left nearly 100 dead.
On Friday, officials said they would ask Russia to extradite Yanukovych, hours before he was scheduled to begin a press conference in the country’s southern city Rostov-on-Don.
“After his appearance in Rostov-on-Don, it was decided to begin criminal proceedings for attempts to overthrow the constitutional order in Ukraine,” UNIAN quoted Prosecutor General Oleg Makhnitsky as saying.
On February 22, the Ukrainian parliament deposed Yanukovych and called for an early presidential election in May, citing his inability to fulfill his constitutional duties amid often-violent protests in the capital that began in November.
The ousted president has called the move an illegal coup and insisted that he remains the country’s lawful head of state.
Russian troops in unmarked uniforms have reportedly taken control of strategic sites across Ukraine’s southern peninsula of Crimea since Thursday, while local officials there have denounced the new government in Kiev as illegitimate.