UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT FLEES

The crisis in Kiev has taken a new, unstable turn.

Late yesterday, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych Fled the capital Kiev for a Russian-speaking city in the eastern part of the country. This has left a power vacuum that is being filled by the opposition.

WSJ reports:

Saturday, volunteer security brigades from among the protesters took over security at government buildings in the capital, and journalists reported around 300 people had entered Mr. Yanukovych’s opulent suburban residence without resistance.

Oleh Tyahnybok, an opposition leader, called on parliament to adopt a resolution calling on police and protesters’ “self-defence” forces to work to prevent looting in Kiev and other cities.

Outside the Kiev headquarters of Ukraine’s security service, plain-clothed men wearing earpieces stood at the street corners, eying those who passed. They wouldn’t say who they worked for.

A liveblog at the Kyiv Post gives more colour on the anarchic situation:

The crowd of more than 1,000 people who has gathered at Mezhyhyria, the multimillion-dollar estate abandoned by President Viktor Yanukovych, say the complex belongs to the people. Activists, journalists and others are there and allowed to tour the grounds, but not inside the buildings now guarded by the opposition. Guards who refused to be identified said that four helicopters came and two armoured personnel carriers came to the complex at 2 a.m. today, the last time they noticed that Yanukovych’s security were still in chage of the place. Journalist and opposition activist Tetyana Chornovol — who has published many investigations into Yanukovych’s alleged illegal acquisition of the former state property — is on the scene. She is talking to EuroMaidan security guards about creating a system not to allow vandalism. No one with masks will be let in. She is calling for calm until the grounds can be opened to the people. Small groups will be let in, accompanied by member of the anti-government “people’s self-defence.” There is a suggestion to make it a Museum of Corruption.

Images are coming out from people who are inside Yanukovich’s abandoned residence.

A protestor stands guard inside abandoned #kiev residence of Yanukovich. Seems unlikely he’ll be back #euromaidan pic.twitter.com/pi8MWC5Wis

— James Mates (@jamesmatesitv) February 22, 2014

For more on the situation, this liveblog from the Kyiv Post is the best >

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