MOSCOW — Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said on Sunday that Ukraine's leaders had seized power illegally, and predicted their rule would end with "a new revolution [and] new bloodshed."
Medvedev said that, while Viktor Yanukovych had practically no authority, he remained the legitimate head of state according the constitution, adding: "If he is guilty before Ukraine - hold an impeachment procedure ... and try him."
"Everything else is lawlessness. The seizure of power," Medvedev said on his Facebook page. "And that means such order will be extremely unstable. It will end in a new revolution. New bloodshed."
The remarks were part of a series of Russian statements attacking the legitimacy of the pro-Western government that has been formed since Yanukovych fled Kiev more than a week ago. He surfaced on Friday in Russia.
Russian President Vladimir Putin obtained consent from the Kremlin-controlled parliament on Saturday to send the Russian military into Ukraine if he wishes, citing the need to protect Russian citizens and Russian-speakers in the neighboring state.
"Russia is ready to develop multi-faceted, respectful relations with brotherly Ukraine — mutually beneficial and effective relations," Medvedev said.
"But Ukraine for us is not a group of people who, pouring blood on the Maidan (Kiev's main square), seized power in violation of the constitution and other state laws."
"Russia needs a strong and stable Ukraine. A predictable and economically thriving partner," Medvedev said. "Not a poor relation that's always standing with a hand held out."
Russia promised heavily indebted Ukraine a $15 billion bailout after Yanukovich turned his back on deals with the European Union and instead said he would pursue closer trade ties with Russia, but suspended delivery as his grip loosened.
First published March 2 2014, 2:03 PM