Viktor Yanukovych, Ukraine’s fourth President, who was deposed during the 2014 protests, has urged the country’s current leader, Volodymyr Zelensky, to “stop the bloodshed.”
Yanukovych, who is currently living in exile in Russia, stated that he wishes to “address Volodymyr Zelensky in a presidential capacity and even a little bit in a fatherly one,” according to Ukrainska Pravda, citing the Moscow-based RIA Novosti news agency.
“I understand that you have many ‘advisors’ but it is your personal responsibility to stop bloodshed and reach a peace agreement.
“Ukraine, Donbas, and Russia all expect you to do this. The people of Ukraine and your partners in the West will be grateful to you,” the pro-Moscow former leader said.
In November 2013, a wave of large-scale protests known as the Euromaidan erupted in response to Yanukovych’s abrupt decision to forego signing a political association and free trade agreement with the European Union (EU), instead opting for closer ties with Russia and the Eurasian Economic Union.
Protests continued as Russia pressed Ukraine not to sign the Ukrainian-European Association Agreement, despite Parliament’s overwhelming approval to do so, amid widespread calls for Yanukovych’s resignation.
Large-scale protests engulfed Kiev in January-February 2014, killing 108 demonstrators and 13 police officers.
Following the most severe violence in Ukraine’s history, the Ukrainian parliament voted on February 22, 2014, to remove Yanukovych from office.
Yanukovych declared the vote to be illegal and possibly coerced, and went into exile in Russia.
Protests in Ukraine’s southern and eastern regions erupted after his departure, prompting a Russian intervention, annexation of the Crimean Peninsula, and the formation of the self-proclaimed breakaway states of Donetsk and Luhansk.