Fugitive Yanukovych clan promises to return to Ukraine to “change its political course”

Former Prime Minister of Ukraine Mykola Azarov  

International, More, Ukraine

In a press conference in Moscow on 26 April 2018, fugitive Ukrainian politicians hiding in Russia – Mykola Azarov, Vitaliy Zakharchenko, Andriy Klyuyev, and Stanislav Shulyak – announced that they would return to Ukraine and “resurrect” the country.

On 22 February 2014, after three months of protests during the Euromaidan revolution and over a hundred dead, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych fled Kyiv, was swiftly impeached by the Ukrainian parliament and ended up in Russia. The officials and politicians affiliated to him who became known as Yanukovych’s “family” followed suit. Over the next years, Yanukovych gave press conferences in Russia’s Rostov, where he insisted that he was still the legitimate president of Ukraine and Euromaidan was a coup d’etat. Sanctioned by western governments, the officials of his circle made statements and appearances denouncing the Euromaidan revolution and the pro-western government which was elected after it. This time, they announced they would return to Ukraine and change the political course of the country.

The press conference lasted a little over an hour; it was attended by about 25 journalists, including one journalist from Ukraine. When questioned by this journalist, Azarov skirted around the issues and sermonized about Kyiv’s current failures.

At the beginning of the press conference, the fugitive politicians commented on the interrogation for high treason of ex-president Viktor Yanukovych by Kyiv’s Obolonsky District Court and then voiced the usual Kremlin messages, which had previously been expressed by the fugitive Ukrainian ex-president.

These included statements that the events in Ukraine had led to a “coup d’état,” that Euromaidan protesters had been fully armed, that Yanukovych did not flee the country, and that Yanukovych had drawn up a peace agreement with the opposition which supposedly could have stopped the escalation. They also talked about how the Maidan had divided the country and how the government had surrendered Crimea.

Former Interior Minister Zakharchenko added that he was in possession of certain pieces of evidence that he had brought with him when he fled from Ukraine.

“I started my own my investigation as soon as the protests and riots began, and managed not only to escape with these folders, but also to get further valuable information from certain associates.”

Zakharchenko claims that “his folders” contain evidence indicating that there was no need to for the government to start its “anti-terrorist operation” against Russian-separatist militants in the Donbas. The Ukrainian government operation was launched in April 2014, when following Russia’s annexation of Crimea, a Russian-backed separatist movement started wielding control of Ukraine’s easternmost parts.

Zakharchenko did not present these documents but said that he would show them in a court that would “deal objectively and comprehensively” with the case of high treason.

Mykola Azarov

Mykola Azarov, former Prime Minister of Ukraine

Mykola Azarov is a Ukrainian politician who was the Prime Minister of Ukraine from 11 March 2010 to 27 January  2014, as well as leader of Yanukovych’s Party of Regions. He resigned in January 2014 and has been residing in Russia as of 23 February 2014. The EU recently prolonged sanctions against Azarov. On 12 January 2015, Interpol issued Red Notices for Yanukovych and Azarov, charging them with embezzlement and misappropriation of funds. Since 3 July 2014, Azarov is on the international wanted list for abuse of power. In 2015, Azarov created a “Committee for the salvation of Ukraine,” the proclaimed goal of which was to serve as a “Ukrainian government in exile.”

“We will definitely return to our country. You can write that down and I’ll sign it. We represent a Ukraine that the current regime refuses to see and acknowledge. Make no mistake, we will return and resurrect Ukraine and change the political course of the country. I’m firmly convinced that this will happen,” said Azarov.

Vitaliy Zakharchenko

Vitaliy Zakharchenko, former Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine

Vitaliy Zakharchenko is a Ukrainian politician who is a senior consultant at Russia’s Rostec state corporation. He previously served as Ukraine’s Minister of Internal Affairs from 7 November 2011 until he was suspended from duties by the Verkhovna Rada on 21 February 2014. Ukrainian authorities issued an arrest warrant for Zakharchenko and he is currently wanted on murder charges linked to the Maidan killings. The EU and the U.S. recently prolonged sanctions against Zakharchenko.

Ex-Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine Vitaliy Zakharchenko also promised that he would return to Ukraine.

“I’m very closely connected with Ukraine. I’ve given many of my best years to this country, and, of course, my future, both private and political, is strongly tied to Ukraine,” said Zakharchenko.

Stanislav Shulyak

Stanislav Shulyak, former Commander of the Internal Troops of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine

Stanislav Shulyak is the former Commander of the Internal Troops of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine. Accused of organizing the mass killings on Instytutska Street in February 2014, Shulyak has been on the SBU most wanted list since 11 March 2014.

The former Commander of Internal Troops of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine Stanislav Shulyak also spoke of his imminent return to Ukraine.

“I will go back… I want to return to a Ukraine, where the red flag of victory flutters in the wind and the St. George ribbon will be a sign of pride and honour of our country, and where the Waffen-SS Galicia Division* will be disowned and disgraced. This is the country I want to return to and I will do everything possible to make this happen,” said Shulyak, referring to the red flag of the Soviet Union and the black-orange striped ribbon which Ukraine banned as a symbol of Russian aggression.

(*Ukrainian military formation in the German armed forces during WW2. The division was organized as part of a programme to create foreign formations of the Waffen SS (eg, Estonian, Latvian) to fight on the Soviet front. The organizer of the division was the German governor of Galicia (Halychyna), Otto von Wachter, and its formation was announced on 28 April 1943. Although at the Nuremberg Trials, the Waffen-SS as a whole was declared to be a criminal organization, the Galizien Division has not specifically been found guilty of any war crimes by any war tribunal or commission – Ed.)

Andriy Klyuyev

Andriy Klyyev, former head of Yanukovych’s Presidential Administration

Andriy Klyuyev is a Ukrainian businessman and former politician, previously ranked as one of the most influential and richest persons in Ukraine. He is the former head of Yanukovych’s Presidential Administration. He resigned from his post on 23 February 2014 and has been living in Moscow. He is wanted in Ukraine for the mass murder of Euromaidan protestors since 7 March 2014. His assets were frozen by the EU on 6 March 2014. The EU recently prolonged sanctions against Andriy Klyuyev but lifted sanctions against his brother Serhiy, a businessman and parliament member who formerly represented Yanukovych’s Party of Regions and was the nominal owner of Yanukovych’s luxurious estate Mezhyhirya.


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Source: Ukrayinska Pravda

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  1. Avatar svend lykkegaard says:

    I am sure Yanocovych will be velcome in Ukraine. I really dont understand, why he is living like a traitor in Russia, But I suppose, that he made his choice back in 2014. better being a Putlist than a Ukrainien. And now living in Russia is depressing, he want to go back to a free country. I hope Ukraine will have him back and then, (well shits happens), he fell off an airplane at 5.000 m altitude, so he really can enjoy being a Putlist.

  2. Avatar Ihor Dawydiak says:

    Here we go again. More choreographed cackling from Putin’s hen house. There isn’t a single member of the Yanukovych clan that has taken up voluntary refuge in Russia that would even contemplate a voluntary return to Ukraine. Why? Because if they returned they would face very long prison sentences and in the case of some of these individuals such as Yanukovych Sr., Azarov (AKA Pakhlo) and Zakharchenko, they would face life imprisonment (AKA remaining in prison until death). But why the cackling when these reprobates aren’t going anywhere? It could be Vovochka Putin’s childish way of saying I’ve got them and you (Ukraine) can’t have them. That’s fine. Then the Russian taxpayer can pay for their lavish imprisonment until death.

    1. Avatar Alex George says:

      I agree with you, however this may be yet another straw in the wind that Putin is contemplating a major offensive against Ukraine, possibly this autumn.

      If Putin does attack, his goal will not be to conquer Ukraine but to see a pro-Kremlin government installed in Kyiv. These may be his handpicked quisling candidates, and so the propaganda regime is gathering steam, to justify them in the world’s eyes.

      1. Avatar Ihor Dawydiak says:

        Times have changed, Alex. While there can be almost no doubt that Putin may have considered an attempt to topple the current administration in Kyiv, the chance of that happening now or in the near future would be highly problematic for the Kremlin. Why? There are a multitude of reasons but two concrete realities stand out the most. They include; 1) The costs. To overthrow the democratically elected regime in Kyiv, Russia would have to invade and then occupy Ukraine for an indeterminate amount of time. However, such an occupation would be extremely expensive as it would not only require the full time use of over a million Russian troops but Putin would also be forced to destroy the Ukrainian Armed Forces. In addition, such an invasion would also be an open invitation for much harsher sanctions from the Western powers (including the excommunication from the SWIFT banking system) at a time when Russia could least afford such a catastrophe. That in turn could also lead to the undermining of Putin himself as the Russian general public might not be so pliable with the Russian economy going into a tailspin and all that this would involve. 2) For Putin to succeed in installing a puppet regime in Kyiv, he would also require the support of a significant amount of the Ukrainian electorate but that support simply isn’t there. If it had been there, then the Russian dictator would have almost certainly carried through with his original plan of creating a new “Novorossiya” (New Russia) which would have stretched from Eastern Ukraine, through Southern Ukraine and up to the Transdnister Region belonging to Moldova. Therefore, Putin has been forced to use the parking break but that may only last for so long as the status quo may not be tenable for an extended period of time. As such, his options remain very limited but further aggression could prove to be fatal.

        1. Avatar Alex George says:

          How have “times changed” Ihor? The Kremlin is not only essentially the same as it was in 2014, but also as t was 10 years and 50 years before that. Lets not be naive about it.
          On the other hand, the Russian Army is now much better prepared for an all-out invasion than it was in 2014.
          “Russia would have to invade and then occupy Ukraine for an indeterminate amount of time.”
          No it wouldn’t. Weeks may be enough. Think about how the Kremlin would operate.
          “it would not only require the full time use of over a million Russian troops”
          I don’t know how you work that out. Four air-armoured divisions may be enough, coupled with motorised forces in a few areas, plus the special forces operating in rear areas, particularly in Kyiv, and pro-Kremlin politicians within Ukraine.
          “Putin would also be forced to destroy the Ukrainian Armed Forces”
          Why would he? He just needs to dislocate them using what is often called “Blitzkrieg” tactics, meanwhile the new Ukrainian government announces a cease fire and “negotiated withdrawal” of Russian forces which of course takes weeks to implement. Meanwhile the FSB has taken over the SBU and begun the purge….
          “For Putin to succeed in installing a puppet regime in Kyiv, he would also require the support of a significant amount of the Ukrainian electorate”
          Why? From the Kremlin’s perspective, such things can be manipulated. Its hardly a reason that would deter the Kremlin from invading.
          “would also be an open invitation for much harsher sanctions from the Western powers (including the excommunication from the SWIFT banking system)”
          It might, but that doesn’t mean Putin would be deterred by that prospect.
          “That in turn could also lead to the undermining of Putin himself ”
          Yes it might. But then again it might strengthen him within Russia – think about what Russians are really like.
          “If it had been there, then the Russian dictator would have almost certainly carried through with his original plan of creating a new “Novorossiya””
          At that time Russia wasn’t prepared for an invasion on the scale which is now feasible.
          “as the status quo may not be tenable for an extended period of time”
          Precisely my point.

          1. Avatar Ihor Dawydiak says:

            With all due respect Alex, I still strongly disagree with your assessment and this has nothing to do with possibilities but more with probabilities. In that regard, while it is true that Russia has only seen a few limited and minor changes since the cold war era, the same cannot be said with the situation in Ukraine. While it must be acknowledged that the people of Ukraine are still struggling with discarding the decrepit baggage of the Soviet era including matters such as corruption, upgrading the economy and infrastructure, meaningful employment, the power of the oligarchs, reforms of the educational and judicial systems and so on, an ever increasing number of people have rejected Russia as an answer to their problems and have opted instead for integration with the European Family of Nations. Ukraine has also witnessed a patriotic fervor that has never been experienced to the same degree in its entire history. In other words the times have changed and along with that the psyche of the vast majority of Ukrainian citizens has changed. Ukraine in 2018 can hardly be compared to the Czechoslovakia of 1968. But that’s not all. The Western powers have made a major investment in supporting the people of Ukraine and their Government financially, economically, militarily and politically. As such, how would an all out invasion AND a continuous occupation of Ukraine by Russian military forces make any sense? Not only would the costs of such an ill fated adventure become horrendous, no puppet administration in Ukraine would be able to survive without the full backing of Russian military forces. Otherwise, without military backing from Russia (any Russian proxies would only throw more fuel onto the bonfire) massive demonstrations, extreme labor strife, open armed rebellion, sabotage, etc. would rule the day. In addition, it would be highly unlikely that the Western powers would just ignore these events as all of Eastern Europe would be viewed as the next victim of Russian aggression. So how would the Western powers react? Would bankrupting Russia become a reality and if so what would happen in Russia. How would Russians feel if they lost their jobs and could no longer feed themselves and their children? And if they had to choose between starving and dying by fighting, which would they choose? Another revolution? But wait. Isn’t Putin allergic to revolutions? And all of this because of Ukraine? So let us pause and think about this. Putin is both a narcissist and a coward. So would he really contemplate committing suicide? Probably not.

        2. Avatar zorbatheturk says:

          Excellent analysis.

  3. Avatar W8post says:

    are they running out of cash? then they NEED to replenish in UA, IF UA let them…
    (Which I doubt)

  4. Avatar Dagwood Bumstead says:

    Please DO return! You can then spend the rest of your worthless lives, wearing striped suits and with ball and chain, at hard labour in the Donbas repairing the damage that your treason helped cause.
    You have actively worked AGAINST the interests of the Ukraine as politicians, so you can spend the rest of your lives working FOR the interests of the Ukraine. A fair trade, methinks.