Kyrgyzstan says Yanukovych no longer Ukraine president
Kyrgyzstan, the most politically open of the former Soviet states in Central Asia, said Wednesday it was concerned by events in Ukraine but no longer recognised the ousted Viktor Yanukovych as president.
The foreign ministry in Bishkek gave implicit endorsement to the Western-backed government in Kiev after Yanukovych Tuesday insisted he remained the legitimate ruler of his country and vowed to return to power.
"Kyrgyzstan shares the concern of the global community in connection with the escalation of tensions in Ukraine," the statement said.
The statement comes after pro-Russian forces sealed off the Crimean peninsula ahead of a referendum on independence that some observers say is a de-facto annexation by Moscow.
"Kyrgyzstan condemns any actions aimed at destabilising the situation in Ukraine, therefore we consider the statement of Viktor Yanukovych from March 11 to be inappropriate and inadequate."
Russia, under President Vladimir Putin, has provided some succour to Yanukovych since he fled Ukraine when his government fell after three months of popular protests turned deadly.
During a brief appearance on Tuesday in the southern Russian city of Rostov-On-Don, Yanukovych insisted he was "not just the sole legitimate president of Ukraine but also commander-in-chief", and he vowed to return to Kiev "as soon as the circumstances allow".
The Kyrgyz statement rubbished that claim.
"The only source of power in any country is the people. A president cannot be legitimate if he has completely lost the trust of his people and abandoned the presidency, especially if he has fled from his own country."
"It was the badly-thought-out actions and corruption of the former authorities in Ukraine that led to the current crisis and the deaths of dozens of innocent people."
Kyrgyzstan's intervention makes it the first state in ex-Soviet Central Asia to break ranks with Putin's view that Yanukovych remains in theory the legitimate Ukrainian president.
After a 2010 uprising and subsequent bloodletting that left hundreds dead, Kyrgyzstan has clawed back stability and is seen as by far the most democratic nation in ex-Soviet Central Asia.
The government in Bishkek has generally sought to balance its relationships with Russia and the West. It has been host to both US and Russian bases, although the American lease on it Manas base is now expiring.
© 2014 AFP