Ukraine’s border control service have claimed that aides to President Viktor Yanukovych tried to bribe border guards to let him fly out of the country, but he was prevented from leaving. “A private plane due to fly out of Donetsk airport did not have the correct paperwork. When officials arrived to check the documentation they were met by armed people who offered them money to fly out urgently,” border service spokesman Serhiy Astahov told AFP on Saturday, adding that border guards refused the offer.
“After some time two armoured vehicles pulled up at the plane and the president emerged and left the airport,” Astahov said. He said officials did not know the planned destination of the plane. There was no independent confirmation of Astahov’s account. Yanukovych was seen in a televised interview said to be recorded in east Ukraine on Saturday stating: “I am not leaving the country for anywhere. I do not intend to resign. I am the legitimately elected president.”
Parliament yesterday voted to oust Yanukovych after scores of demonstrators were shot dead by policemen this week as three months of anti-government protests in Kiev spiralled into deadly conflict. Newly elected parliament speaker Oleksandr Turchyno claimed the embattled president had tried unsuccessfully to flee Russia and was “hiding” in Donetsk.