* Weekly news show a barometer of Kremlin mood
* Host says Yanukovich to blame for Ukraine chaos
* Yanukovich had been moving country closer to Moscow
By Steve Gutterman
MOSCOW, Feb 24 A prominent Russian state TV host
said on Sunday that ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich
had betrayed his people when he fled Kiev, an uncompromising
verdict on a leader President Vladimir Putin had hoped would
bring Ukraine closer to Moscow's orbit.
The remarks by Dmitry Kiselyov on Russia's main state
channel indicate Moscow is unlikely to seek to restore
Yanukovich to power despite its calls for implementation of a
peace deal that, at least on paper, would keep him as president
until a new election.
Kiselyov, who is known for elaborate, acid diatribes against
the West, criticised the United States and European Union over
their roles in the upheaval in Ukraine but then set his sights
on Yanukovich, saying he was ultimately to blame.
"The West is the West, but the head of state in any case
always holds fundamental responsibility for his country," he
said on his show Vesti Nedeli (News of the Week), which aired
after the closing ceremony of the Sochi Olympics on Rossiya 1.
"Viktor Yanukovich, holding the full array of presidential
powers, was obliged to ensure the country's stability, to
overcome the split, to decisively stop extremism," he said.
"Yanukovich turned out to be incapable not only of working
out a state strategy, but even of formulating the real national
interests of the country," said Kiselyov, to whom Putin awarded
a medal this month and whose programme is watched for clues to
Kremlin policy and signs of how the government wants Russians to
"Yanukovich only seemed amorphous; in reality he was taking
action. The result: the real betrayal of the Ukrainian people,
his partners and even - and this is completely low - his own
"The consequences are irreversible. Ukraine is one step from
a split and probably already beyond the threshold of civil war,"
he said. "Now there is no such political factor in Ukraine as
Yanukovich. He left behind ... anarchy."
Yanukovich triggered a deadly three-month standoff in the
ex-Soviet republic when, under pressure from Russia, he shelved
plans to sign political and trade deals with the EU in November
and said Ukraine would seek closer ties with Moscow.
He signed a peace deal with opposition leaders on Friday
after dozens of people were killed in fighting in Kiev, but he
then fled the capital and lawmakers swiftly voted to oust him
and name a temporary replacement. His whereabouts are unknown.
Russia, which promised Ukraine a $15 billion bailout in
December, had signalled last week that Yanukovich must restore
order or risk losing Moscow's support, with Prime Minister
Dmitry Medvedev saying his government could not have full ties
with a leader who was being tramped on like a "doormat".
(Editing by Robin Pomeroy)