Friday 31 July 2015

Ukraine's interim government 'not legitimate', says Russian PM

Published 24/02/2014 | 13:31

Russia's President Vladimir Putin (R), Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev (L) and International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach of Germany speak before the closing ceremony for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics February 23, 2014
Russia's President Vladimir Putin (R), Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev (L) and International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach of Germany speak before the closing ceremony for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics February 23, 2014
A Right Sector anti-Yanukovich protester guards a barricade in central Kiev February 24, 2014
Anti-Yanukovich demonstrators guard a government building in Kiev February 24, 2014. Fugitive Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich, ousted after bloody street protests in which demonstrators were shot by police snipers, is wanted for mass murder, authorities announced on Monday
People light candles during a religious service at a church in Kiev February 23, 2014. Ukraine's new rulers, just 24 hours after ousting President Viktor Yanukovich, began speedily to unstitch his power structure on Sunday, appointing a provisional leader to replace him and sacking his key ministers.
A woman kneels in front of Ukranian riot police unit "Berkut" as they stand by during rallies by anti and pro-Yanukovich supporters in the eastern city of Donetsk, February 23, 2014
A supporter carries an old Soviet flag while attending a pro-Yanukovich rally in the eastern city of Donetsk, February 23, 2014
Ukrainian opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko (C) meets with U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt (L) and head of the EU Delegation to Ukraine Jan Tombinski in Kiev, February 23, 2014

Russia's prime minister voiced grave doubts on Monday over the legitimacy of the authorities in Ukraine after President Viktor Yanukovich's ouster, criticising Western states for recognising officials he said came to power in an "armed mutiny".

In some of Russia's strongest statements condemning the toppling of the Moscow-backed leader, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev made clear he was not yet ready to engage with the former opposition figure appointed acting leader by parliament.

"We do not understand what is going on there. There is a real threat to our interests and to the lives of our citizens," Medvedev was quoted as telling Russian news agencies, explaining why Moscow had recalled its Kiev ambassador on Sunday.

"Strictly speaking there is no one to talk to there. There are big doubts about the legitimacy of a whole series of organs of power that are now functioning there," he said.

Medvedev described some of the opposition activists involved in the street protests that led to Yanukovich's demise as "men in black masks with Kalashnikovs who are carving up Kiev," the reports said.

"It will be hard for us to work with such a government," state-run RIA quoted him as saying. "Some of our foreign partners think differently ... it seems to me it is an aberration to call legitimate what is essentially the result of an armed mutiny," he added.

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