Turchynov becomes Ukraine's commander-in-chief

Ukrainian acting President Alexander Turchynov becomes the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, as former Ukrainian presidents call for Russia to respect the country's interim government.

Turchynov becomes Ukraine's commander-in-chief

World Bulletin / News Desk

Ukraine’s Acting President and Speaker of the Parliament, Alexander Turchynov, took over as commander-in-chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces on Wednesday.

A signed presidential decree says Turchynov has become the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, according to articles 112 and 106 of the Ukrainian Constitution.

Presidential Chief of Staff, Andriy Kluyev, presented his resignation to ousted president Yanukovych on February 23. Kluyev’s former spokesman, Artem Petrenko, said Kluyev was injured in an armed attack and that his condition was not serious.

Interim Interior Minister, Arsen Avakov, said in a message on his Facebook account that he has signed a decree to disband the special police force, Berkut, which clashed with the demonstrators. Some of the members of Berkut had bowed before demonstrators and apologized on behalf of the security forces, which had been brought on buses to Lviv city center in western Ukraine.

Meanwhile, three Ukrainian ex-presidents have called on Russia to respect decisions taken by the Ukrainian interim government.

A statement released by former President Viktor Yushchenko's spokesperson said three former Ukrainian presidents - Leonid Kravchuk, Leonid Kuchma and Viktor Yushchenko - claims Russia is directly meddling into political affairs of Ukraine’s Autonomous Crimean Region, as the international partners are trying to find a political solution to the Ukrainian crisis.

The statement said Ukrainian security forces should investigate into all kinds of separatist propaganda attempts and incitement of cultural and ethnic enmity, according to the country’s laws. Speculations on the rights of Russian speaking people and insults directed on Ukrainian language and state symbols should also be prevented, the statement said.

According to agreements between Russia, United States and England, pertaining to guarantee of Ukrainian sovereignty, Russia should respect decisions taken by the Ukrainian people and the Ukrainian interim government.

Anti-government protester elected as deputy interior minister

Ukraine's Interim Interior Minister Arsen Avakov appointed a prominent Ukrainian activist, Mykola Velichovich, as Deputy Interior Minister on Wednesday.

Velichovich was a leader in the self-declared defense unit of the Independence Square in the Ukrainian capital, Kiev, during the anti-government protests, which began in late November and ousted Ukraine's former president Viktor Yanukovych, who is now a fugitive.

Interim Interior Minister Avakov previously disbanded a special police unit called "Berkut," which was blamed for killing protestors.

Avakov introduced the new deputy interior minister at a press conference, during which he said the activists in the Independence Square would cooperate with security forces in an attempt to build a more "transparent" unit.

The Interior Minister declared that activists could apply to join the security forces.

Russian legislator: Yanukovych is still Ukraine's President

According to Valentina Matviyenko, a Russian legislator, President Viktor Yanukovych "was still the legitimate leader of Ukraine".

The Head of the Federation Council, in the Upper House of the Russian parliament, said that the legal procedure of Yanukovych's dismissal was not properly followed, making him still "legally in charge".

"First, the impeachment procedures should be conducted," Matviyenko exclaimed. "Then, the issue can be taken to the constitutional and the supreme courts".

On Monday, Ukraine's Prosecutor General issued a warrant for Yanukovych's arrest over the deadly crackdown on anti-government protestors, which killed 88 people.

Matviyenko said that Russia was in favor of Ukraine's unity and there was "no ground" for the country's separation. Citing a draft law that allows Ukrainians with Russian-origins to acquire Russian citizenship, she said this would be early and should be considered wisely before taking any steps.

NATO ready to push Ukraine democratic reforms

NATO is ready to push ahead for democratic reforms in Ukraine and support Ukraine's territorial integrity and its sovereignty, Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said on Wednesday.

Ukraine is a close and long-standing partner to NATO, which is a sincere friend of Ukraine, Rasmussen said.

‘’We are encouraged that violence has been stopped through negotiations,’’ Rasmussen said. ‘’As Ukraine goes forward, an inclusive political dialogue, which respects democratic values is key.’’

Noting that NATO respects the sovereign choices of the Ukrainian people, Rasmussen assured NATO's continuous support to Ukraine during its democratic reforms.

"NATO’s allies will continue to support Ukrainian sovereignty and independence, territorial integrity, democratic development, and the principle of inviolability of frontiers, as key factors of stability and security in central and eastern Europe and on the continent as a whole," the a NATO statement added.


Defense ministers will discuss the situation and engage with Ukrainian officials in a meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission on Thursday.


Last Mod: 27 Şubat 2014, 09:17
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