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Ukraine issues arrest warrant for missing leader

By The Associated Press

This article was published February 24, 2014 at 7:01 a.m.

people-flock-to-the-independence-square-in-kiev-ukraine-on-monday-feb-24-2014-ukraines-acting-government-issued-a-warrant-monday-for-the-arrest-of-president-viktor-yanukovych-last-reportedly-seen-in-the-pro-russian-black-sea-peninsula-of-crimea-accusing-him-of-mass-crimes-against-protesters-who-stood-up-for-months-against-his-rule

People flock to the Independence Square in Kiev, Ukraine, on Monday, Feb. 24, 2014. Ukraine's acting government issued a warrant Monday for the arrest of President Viktor Yanukovych, last reportedly seen in the pro-Russian Black Sea peninsula of Crimea, accusing him of mass crimes against protesters who stood up for months against his rule.

SEVASTOPOL, Ukraine — Ukraine's acting government issued an arrest warrant Monday for President Viktor Yanukovych, accusing him of mass crimes against the protesters who stood up for months against his rule. Yanukovych himself has reportedly fled to pro-Russian Black Sea peninsula of Crimea.

Calls are mounting in Ukraine to put Yanukovych on trial, after a tumultuous presidency in which he amassed powers, enriched his allies and family and cracked down on protesters. Anger boiled over last week after government snipers killed scores of protesters in the bloodiest violence in Ukraine's post-Soviet history.

The turmoil has turned the country of 46 million inside out over the past few days, raising fears that it could split apart. The parliament speaker is now nominally in charge of a country whose failing economy is on the brink of default and whose loyalties are torn between Europe and longtime ruler Russia.

"The state treasury has been torn apart, the country has been brought to bankruptcy," Arseniy Yatsenyuk, a protest leader and prominent lawmaker whose name is being floated as a possibility for prime minister, said in parliament Monday.

Ukraine's acting finance minister said Monday that the country needs $35 billion to finance government needs this year and next and expressed hope that Europe or the United States would help.

Arsen Avakhov, the acting interior minister, said on his official Facebook page Monday that a warrant has been issued for the arrest of Yanukovych and several other officials for the "mass killing of civilians."

At least 82 people, primarily protesters, were killed in clashes in Kiev last week.

Read tomorrow's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.

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