Editor's Note: Ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych gave a live news conference from exile in Rostov-na-Don, Russia. The following is an unofficial translation from the Kyiv Post.
Ukraine seized by 'pro-fascist activists'
"It is time for me to say that I'm going to continue fighting for Ukraine's future against those who try to conquer it with fear and terror. I was forced to leave Ukraine because of an immediate threat to my life and the lives of people close to me.
"The power was taken in Ukraine by pro-nationalist youths, who represent an absolute minority.
"As you know, Ukraine was seized by pro-fascist activists.
"They violated what was agreed with participation of the foreign ministers of Germany, France and Poland and representatives of the Russian Federation.
"The immediate agreement that would balance out all power branches, i.e., the president, the cabinet and parliament, then hold an election in December 2014 for president and the approval of a new constitution.
"It is very important to have an unbiased investigation of all the violence under the guidance of a United Nations council, also give up all weapons and unblock all street squares.
"The armed people have to leave the streets both in Kyiv and other regions of Ukraine.
"Ukrainian should be provided with normal life, in Kyiv as well as in other regions.
Blames crisis on 'irresponsible policy of the West'
"It will be difficult to exit this tough crisis and turbulence that the country is going through as the result of it. It's a result of the irresponsible policy of the West that encouraged Maidan (protests). Ukraine is a strong country and we wil overcome this. I also suggest to conduct a national referendum on most important issues.
"These issues have to be the most important aspects of nation governance, unconditionally the cosntituion.
Q: "Yesterday in your statement you said the the agreement was not fullfiled. What are they reasons for such a statement?
"The agreement that was suposed to regulate the crisis envisages it will be fulfilled by both sides.
"I believed in the decency of international mediators. This agreement was quite controversial and complex. I signed it and so did the representaves of the opposition and delegations from abroad.
"The radical forces that were represented on Maidan, and not only on Maidan. I (demanded them to) disarm and free all conquered territories. It was not fulfilled.
"And as a result, Kyiv was overwhelmed with armed people who attacked houses, churches ... people were robbed in the streets, and it continues to this day.
"The agreement gave us some hope. Innocent people were beaten and robbed, and it still continues. About what happened next is difficult to describe.
"It's chaos, terror. The decisions taken by parliament with deputies who were assaulted, pressure, thrown rocks at. They were literally dragged on Maidan to give oaths. This is not the work of parliament, this is the work of Maidan. The decisions taken by parliament with deputies who were assaulted, pressure, thrown rocks at.
"This was supposed to be a government of national unity we agreed on.
"But it's hard to describe how the government is formed. They called their government the government of winners. The win over people?
"By the names who have been heard all over the world: (Dmytro) Yarosh, (Oleksandr) Parubiy, (Oleh) Tiahnybok. People who propagated violance. They are known all over the world, and Israel is in horror from it.
"I consider the parliament illegitimate.
"If the agreement had been fulfilled it could have calmed down the situation and started to regulate the political ciris, it was the start of the dead end where radicals took us.When the Constitutional Court is ruined, the country gets ruined as well, and we can't let this happen.
"Not only in Ukraine, but in the whole world when the Constitutional Court is destroyed, the statehood is destroyed.
Q: Are you ashamed of anything?
"I would like to say sorry to the veterans, to the Ukrainian people that I did not have the power to stop the chaos that is happening in Ukraine right now. First of all, I have to say I did not run, I moved from Kyiv to the city of Kharkiv. During my move I was shot at from automatic weapons. The car that covered me was effectively shot at from all sides."
Q: "Why did you left the country the next day that you signed the agreement, why didn't you ask European leaders for help?"
"I was not leaving alone, and did not run.
"I wanted to meet with activists of the Party of Regions and civic organizations at the forum that was supposed to be held in Kharkiv.
"We did arrive late there. When we came to Kharkiv, early in the morning Feb. 22, the Security Service received information that the radical groups are coming to the city.
"There was no fear, none, these were security contitions that had to be envisaged and kept. To manage security is not my job, i took a decision. With me was speaker Voldoymyr Rybak and presidential chief of staff Andriy Klyuyev. Klyuyev and Rybak were with me.
"I asked them to fly to Donetsk and assemble the activists and tell everything that happened to us and what was happening in Kyiv.
"And I took a decision to go to Lugansk by two helicopters.
"The air traffic service warned us that if we do not turn from the course which they assume was going to Russia.
"The pilots decided to land in Donetsk. The pilots who are law-abiding citizens took a decion to land in Donetsk. I moved by car motorway to Donetsk. At the end ,we arrived to Crimea late in the evening.
"But my new plans were ruined by security threats. I got calls from my family that even my youngest grandson was in list that was to be lustrated. My son called me and said he could not risk in this situation.
Q: Why we are in Rostov? Pleace comment on the situation in Crimea.
A: "I came to find temrporary shelter with him. I think everything that happens in crime is a natural reaction to the bandit takeover in Kyiv. It was a bandit coup actually. It was done by a handful radicals. Naturally the Crimeans will not obey nationalists and (Stepan Bandera, 1909-1959) Banderites. It's natural, the desire of Crimeans to join the self-defense. They want to protect their houses and their families. I think Crimeans are listening to me, i would like to ask them to not allow bloodshed.
"As the legitimate president of Ukraine, I would like to to ask them to remember that Crimea has to stay within Ukraine as a broad autonomy. Crimeans want to protect their homes and families. I ask Crimeans to prevent bloodshed and arguements. As president, Crimea should stay within Ukrainian borders, with wide autonomy.
"I think that in any military action in this situation is inadmissible. And i am not planning to turn for military support. I think Ukraine should stay united. I will return to Ukraine as soon as the conditions of my security and the security of my family are observed.
Q: How did you get to Russia? Have you met with Putin?
"In Russia, I arrived thanks to the patriotic officers who performed their duty and helped me save my life. Second, i have not met with Vladimir Vladimorovych Putin. I have not, after arriving to the territory of Russia. We spoke on the phone. We agreed that as soon as the Russian president has an opportunity to meet with me, we shall meet. I said it wasn't just cheated, I was cynically cheated.
"But it's not just me, it's the whole Ukrainian people. I would like to hear an answer from those who signed and were effectively guarantors. I did not hear any suggestions and there was no communication, and i did not see in media any calls on their behalf to show how to solve it. i think this would not be enough. We should meet and discuss, this issue is not yet off agenda."
Q: Why did the Party of Regions split?
I am not a judge, let the God judge you, who behaves how, and i am not condemning those people who were forced under the automatics rifles - this is not an exaggerration - forces to take certain decisiosn, and their familiers,when their houses were burned. I talked to some of these deputies over the phone. What i heard from them was horrible. I will pray to God that the new so-called power will stop the violence thats going on.
Q: What's the reason for nearly default situation in Ukraine? Are you going to take part in the election?
"The pre-default state, not a single expert will deny that this state arose after the situation in Ukraine was destablilized and Ukraine lost such a partner in trade as Russia. We paid salaries regularly, and we intended to continue to raise social payments. The whole population knows it. We guaranteed that all these programs would be fulfilled. Of course we prepared for the 2015 election and tried to persuade the population that it's' best to live in a stable country. Our support was the highest among all parties in Ukraine. People believed it. I am placing full repsonsibility on those who led to chaos and catastrophe. Those who cam to power and those who command on Maidan, including the representatives of the West who blessed Maidan.
"The election is not legal, and I will not take part in it. I think all elections have to happen in accordance with law and constitution. The USA representatives who followed Maidan, they are responsible to Ukrainians."
Q: Are you going to continue your political career? How are you going to fight for Ukraine?
"As soon as I have a real opportunity and conditions are created and guarantees of my security, including from international mediators, I will immediately go to Ukraine. I can see the way to regulate the crisis.
"Primarily it's the agreement that was signed and not fulfilled on one side. The non-fulfillment of this agreement is fully to blame on the West, hich sent envoys, agreed on all conditions, and discussed all clases at the council that gathered on that day in Brussels.
"I don't think there is a single person in this hall who would derive pleasure from what'a going on in Kyiv. You understand my condition and the condition of my like-minded people and the people who suffer as a result of terror and chaos in the country. I have addressed and would like to address again all participants.
'It's not too late to go back'
"I reject what's going on, these methods. It's not too late to return along with your patrons from the West. It's not too late to go back. I met with the Berkut (riot police offiers ) who stood there, and i apologized to them, without weapons and they had Molotov cocktails fired at them, and were attacked with guns."
Q: What do you think about ex-Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko's release from prison on Feb. 22 Would you like to apologize to the Berkut (riot police officers) who protected you with their bodies?
"I would like to apologize to them again. I don't know about Yulia Tymoshenko. I don't know if she will run for election and the Ukrainian people are to answer. As far as her criminal case goes, she was sentenced by court, the court took decisions. Her conditions were exclusive. Her freeing is an issue that is in legal sphere primarily. How she was freed i have never wished her any bad. But the (2009) agreement she signed (with Russia about the price of natural gas imports) led to more than $20 billion in losses. She know that very well.
"The West and actually the president of Russia Vladimir Putin expressed a different point of view from that of the court, and my position is that it's their own business but the Ukrainian court answered that question. I am repeating with facts.
Q: How can you prove that you are the real president of Ukraine?
"The laws that were approved by violence in parliament. I do not recognize and will never recognize. I did not sign them and they will not work. This is the legal fact. If the president did not resign, according to constitution, if he is alive - and as you can see i am alive - and if he was not impeached, he is still acting president. The show in parliaent, with violence against deputies, i cannot recognize and will never recognize."
Q: What is the role of Russia in this conflict?
"I think Ukraine [Editor's Note: He assumingly meant to say Russia] is our strategic partner. The agreements between Ukraine and Russia, within the framework of those agreements Russia has a right to act. I think Russia must act, and knowing the character of Vladimir Vladimorich Putin, I am surprised that he is so restrained and silent. Those agreements we have with Russia, Russia has a right to act.
Q: Do you regret conducting negotiations with Maidan representatives?
"We conducted official negotiations with representativs of the opposition.The rest of negotiations on the human level with any representatives of Maidan, civic organizarions, there were a lot of them, and they were all directed to prevent bloodshed and finding a compromise. I regret that in this way, peacefully we could not regulate. I am not accepting any way of regulating the issues, except peaceful. No power is worth a drop of bloodshed. This is all on consciouness of those people who shot.
'I never gave orders to shoot'
"I never gave orders to shoot. As you know the police were not armed until the last moment when they were attacked. And as you know they protect themselves with arms under the law. I am remembering 2004, when the situation was similar, when my supporters arrived to the railway station,around 40 000 people, and on Maidan there were so-called Orange Revolution people. I went to the train station, and stoped people from bloodshed."
"I told them your mothers, your wives will never forgive you if there are deaths and if there is bloodshed. The rest of negotiations on the human level with any representatives of Maidan, civic organizations. There were a lot of them, and they were all directed to prevent bloodshed and finding a compromise.
"Regarding The Hague , my point of view is that first there has to be an independent investigation, with participartion of power and opposition, with participation of the Council of Europe. After an investigation we can talk about courts. I would prefer not to answer these questions. I am often provoked.
'The truth will be known'
"I will tell you that time will pass and the truth will be known. Now there is a theater performance with the participation of militants and their patrons."
Mezhyhirya 'too old, I had to repair it'
"The power changed, and they tried to remove me. There was an offer to buy it. I paid. That house was too old, I had to repair it. Then there was a decision for me to buy it. I paid $3,200,000. The rest does not belong to me. Part of the premises i rented to fulfill my duties as a president. This is a campaign to discredit. I have never had any property. I have never had any foreign account. There are real owners, you will hear from them, and international lawysers will be going to court,because this property is not under Ukrainian ownership.
'Stop or you will be held responsible'
"I am a public person. Evrything I had was declared and was on my accounts and when they say my son owns it, I have never heard it. This is empty bell-ringing. I would like to say again to come back to their senses and stop or you will be held responsible...
"I would like to again address those who call themselves legal power. I would like to say leave and do not allow more lawlessness and grief for the Ukrainian people. I would like to address the Ukrainian people. I would like to apologize to everyone who has suffered and continues to suffer. I will do whatever I can do.
Disavows 'scum, nationalists and Banderites'
I will keep going to be with people of Ukraine, not the scum, nationalists and Banderites [Editor's Note: Reference to Stepan Bandera, 1909-1959, a Ukrainian nationalist leader who is an iconic nationalist to his supporters and reviled by his critics for allegedly sympathizing with the Nazis during World War II.]
"If was in Ukraine. I would bow to every one of them and meet with every family, regardless of the side. The lives of people have always be most important to me. The truth will eventually come out."
END OF UNOFFICIAL TRANSCRIPT, TRANSLATION - LAST CORRECTED KYIV TIME 17:53