Ukraine's parliament voted yesterday (25 February) to send fugitive President Viktor Yanukovich to the International Criminal Court, while his acting successor expressed concern about "signs of separatism" in Russian-speaking Crimea.
A resolution, overwhelmingly supported by parliament, linked Yanukovich, who was ousted by the legislature on Saturday and is now on the run, to police violence against protesters which it said had led to the deaths of more than 100 citizens of Ukraine and other states.
The Hague-based court said it would need a request from the government of
With an early presidential election set for May 25, one of
Yanukovich was indicted by the new authorities for "mass murder" on Monday over the shooting of demonstrators in Kyiv and is now on the wanted list, having last been seen at Balaclava in Crimea, near
The resolution said former interior minister Vitaly Zakharchenko and former prosecutor-general Viktor Pshonka, who are also being sought by the authorities, should also be sent for trial at the ICC.
"Parliament asks the International Criminal Court to hold Viktor Yanukovich and other high-level people criminally responsible for issuing and carrying out openly criminal orders", the resolution said.
"A government can make a declaration accepting the court's jurisdiction for past events," said court spokesman Fadi El Abdallah, adding that it would then be up to the court's prosecutor to decide whether or not to open an investigation.
The tribunal has jurisdiction over only serious international crimes, and then only if local authorities are unable or unwilling to deal with those cases themselves.
Acting interior minister Arsen Avakov said Yanukovich was wanted for the "mass murder of peaceful citizens".
Yanukovich left Kyiv by helicopter on Friday, heading for his power base in the east, where he was prevented from flying out of the country and then diverted south to
Fears of split
Yanukovich's fall has revived fears that the former Soviet state of 46 million might split along the faultline that divides its pro-Western and pro-Russian regions.
Acting president Oleksander Turchinov and security chiefs expressed concern at a meeting on Tuesday about threats to the country's unity in mainly Russian-speaking
"We discussed the question of not allowing any signs of separatism and threats to
Some of the peninsula's two million residents call openly for moves to secede from
In a fresh warning to the European Union and
"It is dangerous and counterproductive to try to force upon
Unrest erupted in
The EU's foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said Russia should behave like a good neighbour and let Ukraine move forward in the way it chooses after three months of conflict.
Ashton, the first senior foreign official to visit Kyiv since the overthrow of Yanukovich, said the EU understood the need for strong links between Kyiv and
Voicing "strong support" for
The finance ministry in Kyiv has said the country needs $35 billion (20 billion pounds) in foreign help over the next two years and that the money needs to start coming in the next week or two.
European Commission President José Manuel Barroso told the European parliament he was committed to supporting
"I launch from here an appeal to all our international partners, in particular
"The winds of change are knocking again at
EU budget commissioner Janusz Lewandowski said bridging aid of €1 billion might be available,
Maria Meged, 25, a tourism manager from Kyiv, came with her mother and father to lay a yellow tulip among the bouquets for the dead that snake in a line up the hill from the square.
"Those who died were our brothers," she said. "This camp should stay until the old president is in prison and every part of the government has a new face."