Europe
Senior Russian legislator: Yanukovich still Ukrainian president
Last Updated: 2014-02-27 11:30 | Xinhua
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Russia still considered Viktor Yanukovich the legitimate president of Ukraine, a senior Russian legislator said Wednesday.

"If the Supreme Rada (Ukraine's parliament) believes it is necessary to oust the president elected by popular vote, for that there are certain procedures which must be strictly followed," Federation Council, or upper house of parliament, head Valentina Matvienko told reporters.

She refused to comment on conjecture Russia might give Yanukovich political asylum before his whereabouts were established.

Matvienko said Yanukovich, from the legal point of view, remained in office.

Ukraine's acting government issued an arrest warrant Monday for Yanukovych on charges relating to the deaths of protesters in a week of bloodshed in Kiev.

Yanukovich fled Kiev by helicopter Friday after signing an agreement with the opposition to end the conflict.

Matvienko also ruled out any possibility of Russian involvement in developments in Ukraine and dismissed the idea of fast-tracking Russian citizenship for residents of the predominantly Russian-speaking Crimea Peninsula.

"We stand for Ukraine's integrity. There should be no grounds for separatist sentiments," she said.

Ethnic Russians comprise more than 60 percent of Crimea's population, with 25 percent listing themselves as Ukrainians.

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