Yanukovych resurfaces at Moscow presser: Main comments on "masters", assets, and return to Ukraine

Ukraine's former president complained to journalists about his difficult life, commented on his letter to Vladimir Putin and relations with Paul Manafort.


Today in Moscow, a press conference was held by the fugitive Ukrainian ex-president, Viktor Yanukovych. UNIAN collected the most important messages voiced by Ukraine's former leader.

On high treason and "letter to Putin"

Commenting on his appeal to President Vladimir Putin in 2014, Yanukovych said he had addressed the Russian leader to consider the possibility of introducing a "police peacekeeping mission" to Crimea.

"I wrote an appeal to Putin. In the appeal, I referred to the Ukraine-Russia Treaty on friendship and mutual assistance. I proposed that we hold consultations and put forward a proposal on the introduction of a police peacekeeping mission," Yanukovych said.

He added that in a letter to Putin there was another request - to inform the international community about what has happened in Ukraine.

On "hurt" and financial situation

The former president hinted that he had been living in Russia at the expense of his family.

"How am I getting by? Well, I have a family, I have a son. A fairly young and healthy man. I live with my family. As they say, don't count other people's money..." he said.

"Tell you what, no one envies me... But the fact has already been proven that Yanukovych has no money in any bank in the world..." he went on to say. "There has been no money. And there is none."

Yanukovych also noted that the life has been hard on him and that he feels "hurt".

"I can't say that I'm happy with everything. I wouldn't say that. It's very hard for me, I feel hurt," the former president summed up.

On visiting Donbas

Yanukovych said that he has been constantly meeting people who visit Donbas.

Confronted with the question on whether he, himself, visited Donbas over the last four years, the former president evaded a direct answer, only stating that he's been in constant contact with people who happen to visit Donbas.

"I keep track of what's going on there. I won't tell you though, what methods and tactics I apply. I am 100% aware of the developments... I don't agree with everything that's been happening, including down there. But people are in a difficult situation, and they defend themselves. They need help to get out of this situation," he said.

On Donbas reintegration law

Yanukovych called Ukraine's law on Donbas reintegration of, which entered into force Feb 24, "the law on continuation of war." According to the ex-president, the law "completely rules out the implementation of Minsk agreements".

In his opinion, the only way out is through direct negotiations between Kyiv and the militants. "I am sure that peace talks are the only way to find peace. It's about direct talks with representatives of Donbas with the assistance and supervision of representatives of the European Union, Russia, United States and United Nations," Yanukovych said.

On returning to Ukraine

Upon hearing a question about the prospects of his return to Ukraine, Yanukovych also chose to avoid a direct answer, pointing out that the main objective is to achieve peace in Donbas.

"Today the main thing is to stop the war. The main thing is to establish the truce... Today the main thing is to put the two parties at the negotiations table – the parties that are on the opposite sides of the barricades – and let them reach an agreement... and peacefully reunite Donbas with Ukraine," the ex-president said.

Yanukovych assured that he would do his utmost to end the war.

On own security and living in Russia

The former president of Ukraine did not comment on the financial conditions of his staying in Russia, when asked who provides his protection in this country. Yanukovych noted that he is a guest in Russia, so disclosing such information would not be a right thing to do.

"For my part, it would be wrong [to report], on who pays for this house... After all, I am a guest in Russia, and I must respect the owners," the ex-president said, using a Russian word "hozyayeva", the other meaning of which is "masters".

On meeting with Putin

Viktor Yanukovych claims that his personal meetings with the Russian president are rather rare, while he has been in a closer contact with his staff.

"I met with Putin only a few times over these four years. I'm in more contact with his staff. I have a difficult situation with him, he's a very busy man. If we come to certain points of contact on a peaceful settlement and setting up negotiations with Donbas, such meeting will take place," said the former president of Ukraine."

On Poroshenko's Maldivian vacation

Viktor Yanukovych appeared to be caught off his guard with the question about a major thesis, on which his defense team is building its position in the high treason case heard in the Ukrainian court. A journalist asked him: "Is the situation identical of 'Yanukovych-Russia, Poroshenko-Maldives'?" referring to this year's winter vacation of the Ukrainian president.

Yanukovych smiled and turned to his lawyer Vitaliy Serdiuk: "Maldives, Russia ... What's this all about?"

Serdiuk answered for his client, recalling that the defense had raised the question of why during Poroshenko's vacation in the Maldives no one in Kyiv claimed that the leader had self-withdrawn, thus drawing a parallel with the situation with Yanukovych back in 2014.

Serdiuk noted that the situations are not identical, and Yanukovych's stay in Russia is a forced measure.

Yanukovych himself also complained that Petro Poroshenko "did his best to prevent him from taking part in the trial."

On relations with Manafort

Viktor Yanukovych claims that he did not personally pay for the services of American consultant Paul Manafort and has not been in contact with him throughout these 4 years. According to the former president of Ukraine, after the 2010 elections, Paul Manafort was his adviser on a voluntary basis.

"We began to work with Paul Manafort in the second half of 2005. And the parliamentary election campaign in the spring of 2006 was held with the participation of Paul Manafort and his team, his company that worked with the Party of Regions' staff," recalled the former president.

There were snap parliamentary and presidential elections in 2010. "All this time, Paul Manafort was dealing with the staff of the Party of Regions," Yanukovych stressed.

"I personally did not sign any deals with him, I personally did not set up any sums to be paid for his work - and he has never discussed with me the issue of how much he should be paid. In our relations, no issues arose at all of his financial reward or payments," said the ex-president.

Awkward moments

It is noteworthy that when a journalist asked the former president of Ukraine questions in the Ukrainian language, she was asked to translate them into Russian for Yanukovych.

A journalist from one of the TV channels asked the ex-president of Ukraine in Ukrainian on who pays for his stay in Russia, specifying whether she should translate the questions into Russian. The moderator asked her to translate the question. In addition, when Yanukovych's lawyer started commenting in Ukrainian, the moderator also interrupted him and asked him to switch to Russian.

Besides, Yanukovych got things messed up once, having confused the name of Petro Poroshenko with that of Yulia Tymoshenko.

"Poroshenko has done everything to not let me take part in the trial. Courts must remain courts, not some show of an artist Tymoshenko... artist Poroshenko," the former president said.

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