Ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych was expected to make first public appearance in almost a week Friday when he gives as news conference in southern Russia.
Amid speculation about his future, the exiled leader was due to speak at the Don State University in Rostov-on-Don, at at 5 p.m. local time (8 a.m. ET). He hasn't been seen since fleeing Kiev last weekend.
Journalists who were waiting at the venue said there was not yet any sign of Yanukovych, but Russian news agency RIA Novosti said he had arrived in the city late Thursday.
“The plane with the embattled president onboard was escorted by several fighter jets. The boom of supersonic engines was heard for half an hour in the northwestern part of the city, where the airport is located,” RIA Novosti reported, citing local news agency DonInformBuro.
Yanukovych’s public appearance will come after Ukraine's General Prosecutor Office called on Russia to extradite him to face charges of corruption and for his role in the death of protesters in Kiev.
Earlier Friday, Ukraine’s interior minister accused Moscow's military of blockading an airport near a Russian naval base in the country as fears grew that a separatist movement in the autonomous Ukrainian region of Crimea could trigger a deadly international conflict.