Interim president appointed in Ukraine
By Dmitry Zaks ,AFP
February 24, 2014, 12:00 am TWN
KIEV -- A new era dawned in Ukraine on Sunday when parliament appointed a pro-Western interim leader after impeaching a defiant President Viktor Yanukovych, whose whereabouts remain a mystery following a week of carnage.
The ex-Soviet state's bloody three-month crisis culminated in a dizzying flurry of historic changes over the weekend that saw parliament oust the pro-Russian Yanukovych and call a presidential election for May 25.
Lawmakers then went a step further by approving the release from her seven-year jail sentence of former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko — a star of the 2004 Orange Revolution who was thrown behind bars less than a year after Yanukovych came to power in 2010.
The constitutional legitimacy of parliament's actions remains an open question and Yanukovych vowed in a taped interview to fight the "bandits" who now claimed to rule Ukraine.
But Yanukovych's grasp on power was in limited evidence in Kiev on Sunday as the city's police presence vanished and protesters took control of everything from traffic management to protection of government buildings after a week of bloodshed that claimed nearly 100 lives.
The United States vowed to drum up financial help that could help pull Ukraine out of a crisis that erupted in November when Yanukovych spurned a historic EU trade deal and secured a US$15-billion bailout for the struggling nation of 46 million people from old master Russia.