Image by IaEA Imagebank | Filickr
Speaking for the first time since fleeing to Russia, ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych described the Crimean situation as a “great tragedy.”
In an interview with the Associated Press and the state-run NTV network, Yanukovych said he regrets inviting Russian troops into the Crimean peninsula and insists that the takeover would not have happened if he had remained in power.
Yanukovych said he is working to convince Russia to give Crimea back to Ukraine’s and has talked with Russian President Vladimir Putin three times. Yanukovych described the talks as “difficult,” but hopes for more meetings to negotiate Crimea’s return.
Yanukovych said all parties must search for ways to let the peninsula have the greatest degree of independence as part of Ukraine.
Putin has been openly dismissive of Yanukovych, but at the same time insists that the ousted Ukrainian is the legitimate leader of the country. The recent ousting is the second time Yanukovych was forcedly removed from office in the past decade.