Fugitive ex-Ukraine leader Yanukovich warns of civil war

Fugitive ex-Ukraine leader Yanukovich warns of civil war
Men hold their hands up on their heads as they are searched by pro-Russian servicemen at Chongar checkpoint blocking the entrance to Crimea. (Alisa Borovikova, AFP/Getty Images)

MOSCOW — Ukraine's fugitive president has accused his country's new government of fomenting a civil war and criticized the West for supporting it.

Tuesday's statement from Viktor Yanukovich, who fled to Russia last month after months of protests, was televised live on Russian state television and echoed Russia's rhetoric over Ukraine.

Speaking in the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don, Yanukovich repeated the Russian claim that the new Ukrainian authorities are kowtowing to radical nationalists. He alleged that authorities could use military force against Russian-speaking eastern regions, pushing Ukraine toward a civil war.

Yanukovich said the May 25 presidential vote is illegal and said he would call on the U.S. Congress to halt Washington's financial aid to what he called the “bandit regime” in Ukraine.

He added he would soon return to Ukraine.