World

With Yanukovych Out, Who's Running Ukraine Now?

On Saturday, Ukraine’s parliament declared President Viktor Yanukovych constitutionally unable to perform his duties.

With Yanukovych Out, Who's Running Ukraine Now?
Flickr / Oxlaey.com

​With a president who’s insisting he’s still in charge, and a parliament that’s voted him out of office, it’s a little unclear who’s running Ukraine right now.

On Saturday, Ukraine’s parliament declared President Viktor Yanukovych constitutionally unable to perform his duties. (Via ITN)

In his place, the parliament has appointed Alexander Turchinov as the country's acting president until new elections are held May 25. (Via Wikimedia Commons / ВО Свобода) 

And opposition leaders are already talking about charging Yanukovych for the deaths of dozens of protesters. (Via Kyiv Post)

Still, Yanukovych maintains that he's the country legitimate president, and said in a TV interview all the actions taken by the parliament Saturday were illegal. (Via UBR-TV)

But his whereabouts are currently unclear. Many believe he fled to the city of Kharkiv, in the Russian-speaking, eastern part of the country which remains a power base for him. Analysts suspect he'll try to mount some sort of challenge in the coming days. 

But for now, as Voice of America notes, Saturday's turn of events has left Yanukovych pretty powerless.

“His cabinet promised to back a new government, the police said it supported the opposition, and the army said it would not get involved.”

That would seem to leave a handful of popular, opposition leaders with a decent shot at replacing him. 

That includes former world champion boxer Vitali Klitschko, and Ukranian politician Arseniy Yatsenyuk. (Via Wikimedia Commons / Vitali Klitschko, Klitschko Management Group GmbH, Wikimedia Commons / Арсен Яковенко)

Still, observers say those men may have damaged themselves politically when they signed a compromise deal with Yanukovych Friday that, while hailed as a breakthrough, did not result in fully removing him from office as the protesters had wanted. (Via Euronews)

There is another key player here —Yulia Tymoshenko — Yanukovych’s biggest political rival.(Via Wikimedia Commons / European People's Party

The Ukrainian parliament freed her yesterday, after she spent two-and-a-half years in prison for corruption charges many say were politically motivated. She told thousands of supporters in Independence Square she plans to run for president. (Via Sky News) 

Ukraine's government had little to say yesterday, short of a statement that said it would "provide a fully responsible transfer of power."