KIEV- Ukraine’s new opposition-led parliament on Sunday appointed a pro-Western interim leader and sought vital EU aid after the ousted pro-Russian president fled Kiev and went into hiding amid anger over a week of carnage.
The ex-Soviet state’s three-month crisis culminated in a dizzying flurry of historic changes over the weekend that saw parliament sideline president Viktor Yanukovych and call a new presidential poll for May 25.
Lawmakers then went a step further by approving the release from her seven-year jail sentence of former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko — a star of the 2004 Orange Revolution who was thrown behind bars less than a year after Yanukovych came to power in 2010.
The constitutional legitimacy of parliament’s actions remained an open question and Yanukovych vowed in a taped interview to fight the “bandits” who now claimed to rule Ukraine.
But Yanukovych’s authority was nowhere in evidence in Kiev on Sunday. The city’s police presence had vanished and protesters were in control of everything from traffic management to protection of government buildings after a week of bloodshed claimed nearly 100 lives.
Yanukovych was dealt another blow when his own Regions Party condemned him for issuing “criminal orders” that led to so many deaths.
Parliament also voted to dismiss Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Leonid Kozhara after sacking the federal police chief and prosecutor general on Saturday.