Ukrainian President Flees Kiev, Presidential Palace Seized

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Major developments this morning in Ukraine, where opposition leaders have taken control of the presidential palace and parliament has voted to remove president Viktor F. Yanukovych from his post.

The New York Times reports:

Opposition leaders took control of the presidential palace outside Kiev on Saturday, as Ukraine’s president, Viktor F. Yanukovych, fled the capital and Parliament, beginning to chart what appeared to be a new course for the former Soviet republic, called for elections to replace him.

Members of an opposition group from Lviv called the 31st Hundred — carrying clubs and some of them wearing masks — were in control of the entryways to the palace Saturday morning. They watched as thousands of citizens strolled through the grounds during the day, gazing in wonder at the mansions, zoo, golf course, enclosure for rare pheasants and other luxuries, set in a birch forest on a bluff soaring above the Dnepr River.

“This commences a new life for Ukraine,” said Roman Dakus, a protester-turned-guard, who was wearing a ski helmet and carrying a length of pipe as he blocked a doorway. “This is only a start,” he added. “We need now to make a new structure and a new system, a foundation for our future, with rights for everybody, and we need to investigate who ordered the violence.”

Yanukovych, who has fled to the city of Kharkiv, stressed that he has not resigned and has called his ouster a coup.

According to the BBC, jailed former prime minister and opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko has apparently been freed.

A BBC correspondent saw Tymoshenko driven away in a car after leaving the hospital. MPs had voted to pave the way for her release on Friday. She was sentenced to seven years in prison in 2011 for abuse of power.

Her supporters have always maintained this was simply Mr Yanukovych taking out his most prominent opponent, and her release has always been a key demand of the protest movement.

A spokesperson says Yanukovych intends to deliver a televised address later today.

Watch video of protesters swarm through the presidential palace, AFTER THE JUMP

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Comments

  1. Mob rule. Who needs democratic elections?

    Posted by: Garry | Feb 22, 2014 12:00:44 PM


  2. Glad for Ukraine and hope for the same outcome for our brothers and sisters who are fighting for freedom in Venezuela.

    Posted by: Jay | Feb 22, 2014 12:07:20 PM


  3. @GARRY There is such a thing as a democratic path to tyranny. Once those regimes get established, they consolidate power and erode the democratic institutions that get in their way. Therefore, there are no longer viable democratic means by which the people can express their will. Revolting is the only chance these people have to reclaim their freedom.

    I have monitor the situation in Venezuela over the years and I know for a fact that the last several elections were a fraud.

    Posted by: Jay | Feb 22, 2014 12:19:32 PM


  4. Every Russian loss is a gain for gay people worldwide.

    Posted by: TheSeer | Feb 22, 2014 12:36:30 PM


  5. Putin bought Olympic medals but he couldn't buy Ukraine

    Posted by: litper | Feb 22, 2014 12:45:38 PM


  6. Now you're going to see a little bit more of Putin's true face. His sock puppet overlord Yanukovych has been overthrown because Ukrainians wants to align with Europe and that is in direct contradiction to the charade of what Putin want's the world to believe about his 'new' Russia.

    The false facade of a modern democratic Russia he tried to pass off to the world with SOCHI crumbles when you see the Soviet style strong arming used on the Ukraine.

    They want their independence from Russia. They know well the reality of Putin's new Russia is not the theater of Sochi.

    Posted by: BOOM! | Feb 22, 2014 2:04:51 PM


  7. In the wars between oligarchs, it is the people who will suffer. To me, this upheaval in Ukraine has been fomented by our American oligarchs to replace the current Ukrainian oligarchs.

    Posted by: Phoenix Justice | Feb 22, 2014 2:16:35 PM


  8. @GARRY: It's not mob rule. Ukranian MPs have voted to oust president Yanukovych and hold early presidential elections on May 25. Think or do research before you blow off your mouth and make yourself look stupid.

    Posted by: zeddy | Feb 22, 2014 2:26:16 PM


  9. These are Real Activists...not just "sound bites" like on here....

    Posted by: styler | Feb 22, 2014 3:14:51 PM


  10. Thanks for the political news and discussion. We're not all interested in N'Sync retirees, Lady Gaga's recent wardrobe and Madonna's latest attempt for relevance.

    Posted by: parkrunner | Feb 22, 2014 4:11:11 PM


  11. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hvds2AIiWLA

    The appeal of a liberty fighter.

    Putin claims 'democratic' election in Russia while imprisoning any serious opponent and infringing the Constitutional rights of assembly & free speech of those who descent.

    Republicans and religious fundamentalists in America champion him. Just their style of 'democracy'.

    Posted by: BOOM! | Feb 22, 2014 4:21:30 PM


  12. I hope this inspires the Russian people to rise up and put the heads of Putin and his cronies on a pike.

    Posted by: FuryOfFirestorm | Feb 22, 2014 11:13:44 PM


  13. Ideally, it would be great if they could find someone like the President of Uruguay, humble and anti materialistic.

    But, they'll probably just re-install the former President. You know, the one they voted out four years ago.

    Posted by: Rodney Wollam | Feb 23, 2014 1:53:49 PM


  14. I'll have to say at least these pictures show that the folks in the Ukrainian have some dam good tradesmen from the looks of those homes.

    Posted by: peoriaboy | Feb 27, 2014 2:37:36 AM


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