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Yanukovych regrets not cracking down on Maydan with troops

The ex-president said he was wrong not to declare martial law.

Yanukovych regrets not cracking down on Maydan with troops
Viktor Yanukovych
Photo: EPA/UPG

Former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych has said his biggest mistake was not to decree the use of troops to crack down on the Euro-Maydan antigovernment protests.

"I made a series of mistakes. The biggest one was not to have guts to decree the dispatch of troops and declare martial law in Ukraine. This was the only way to stop the radicals back then. I did not dare to cause bloodshed," he said at a news conference in Russia's Rostov-on-Don.

Yanukovych has been hiding in Russia since late February 2014.

Asked about his request to Russian President Vladimir Putin to dispatch troops, he said that document "did not take effect".

He also said that he had taken with him to Russia "nothing but personal belongings, hand luggage". He was answering the question how much money he had brought along.

Yanukovych also spoke in favour of Donbas's return to Ukraine with broad autonomy rights.

"Today, it is practically impossible to settle this issue (Ukraine's territorial integrity – ed.note) without granting this region a broad autonomy," he said.

In his words, Putin's efforts "to protect Russian speakers in Crimea and Donbas" "deserves respect", however the annexation of Crimea by Russia was "bad".