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Feb 27 (Reuters) - Viktor Yanukovich said on Thursday he was still president of Ukraine and warned its "illegitimate" rulers that people in the southeastern and southern regions would never accept mob rule.
The following is the statement sent to Russian news agencies, as reported by state-run Itar-Tass and translated by Reuters:
I, Viktor Fedorovich Yanukovich, appeal to the people of Ukraine. As before I still consider myself to be the lawful head of the Ukrainian state, chosen freely by the will of the Ukrainian people.
I cannot remain indifferent to the tragic events in my motherland. I believe that the agreement on the settlement of the crisis, signed by myself and leaders of the Ukrainian opposition in the presence of respected Western partners on Feb. 21, 2014, has not been fulfilled.
There is a orgy of extremism on the streets of many cities of our country. My closest aides and myself have been threatened with physical reprisals. I am forced to ask the Russian authorities to provide for my personal security from the actions of extremists.
Unfortunately everything that is happening now in the Ukrainian Verkhovna Rada (parliament) is of an illegitimate nature. The decisions being taken by parliament are illegal, they are being taken in the absence of many members of the Party of the Regions and other factions, who are frightened for their security, and some of whom have been subjected to physical violence and have had to leave Ukraine. I am convinced that in these conditions all the decisions being taken will soon prove ineffective and will not be implemented.
In this situation I officially declare my determination to fight to the end for the implementation of the important compromise agreements to bring Ukraine out of deep political crisis.
I am calling for the immediate return of the situation in our country to constitutional grounds. Now it is becoming clear that the people in southeastern Ukraine and in Crimea do not accept the power vacuum and complete lawlessness in the country, when the heads of ministries are appointed by the mob on the square.
I, as the current president, have not allowed the Ukrainian Armed Forces to intervene in the internal political events that are occurring. I am giving the same order now. If anyone starts issuing such an order to the Armed Forces or other security structures, these orders will be illegal and criminal. (Reporting by Tatiana Ustinova; Editing by Steve Gutterman and Catherine Evans)