Russia will not extradite 'legitimate president' Yanukovich to Ukraine

Photo: Russia will not extradite 'legitimate president' Yanukovich to Ukraine / Other News

Moscow will not extradite Viktor Yanukovich to Ukraine, Russia's chief prosecutor said on Friday, calling the ousted leader Ukraine's "fully fledged, legitimate president", Interfax news agency reported.

Ukraine's new authorities started the process of seeking Yanukovich's extradition in late February, shortly after he fled Kiev and went to Russia following three months of protests over his turn away from Europe and towards Russia, Reuters reported.

A change of power took place in Ukraine on February 22.

The Verkhovna Rada (parliament) of Ukraine ousted President Viktor Yanukovych from the power, changed the constitution and scheduled presidential elections for May 25.

Yanukovych said he was forced to leave Ukraine under the threat of violence, and he remains the legally elected head of state.

A number of provinces in eastern and southern Ukraine, as well as the Crimea did not recognize the legitimacy of the Rada and decided on possibility of holding a referendum on the future fate of the regions.

The vast majority of residents of Crimea - 96 percent - voted to secede from Ukraine and join Russia, in a referendum held March 16.

With the exception of Russia most countries refused to recognize the referendum and its results.

On March 18, Russia and Crimea signed an agreement on Crimea as well as Sevastopol city joining the Russian Federation.

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