Ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.
MOSCOW (AP) - Ukrainian fugitive President Viktor Yanukovych asked
Russia on Thursday to protect him from "extremists," as a respected
Russian news organization reported that he was seen in a Moscow hotel
and was now staying in a Kremlin sanatorium just outside the city.
who fled from Ukraine's capital Kiev last week, said in the Thursday
statement that he still considers himself to be the legitimate leader.
"I have to ask Russia to ensure my personal safety from extremists," he said in a statement carried by Russian news agencies.
has not been seen publicly since Saturday. While the West has
recognized the new Ukrainian government, whose forces drove Yanukovych
from power, Russia still considers him the legitimate president.
reported Wednesday evening that Yanukovych was staying at the Barvikha
sanatorium, which is run by the presidential administration's property
department. The spokesman for this department, Viktor Khrekov, told The
Associated Press on Thursday that he has no information about this.
RBK report was impossible to confirm, but security at the Ukraina Hotel
was unusually heavy late Wednesday, with police watching from parked
vehicles outside and guards posted throughout the lobby. Some of
Yanukovych's allies, also reported to have been at the hotel, may have
still been there.
Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesman also said he had no information about Yanukovych's reported arrival in Moscow.
said the information came from one of Russia's wealthiest businessmen
and was confirmed by a government official, neither of whom was
identified. The article was under the byline of respected journalists,
including RBK's editor in chief Elizaveta Osetinskaya, who has
high-level contacts in Russian business circles.
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