Russian Paper: Yanukovych 'Gravely Ill' After Heart Attack

Image: Russian Paper: Yanukovych 'Gravely Ill' After Heart Attack

Friday, 07 Mar 2014 11:45 AM

By Melanie Batley

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Ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych is in a Moscow hospital in "grave" condition after suffering a heart attack, a Russian newspaper has reported.

"According to an MK source, Yanukovych may have had a heart attack. His condition is assessed as grave," Moskovsky Komsomolets newspaper reported. "So far there has been no official confirmation."

Earlier this week, Russian President Vladimir Putin dismissed a report that Yanukovych had died from a heart attack, saying on Tuesday he was "alive and healthy" and that he had met him several days earlier, according to the U.K.'s Daily Mail.

Yanukovych has not been seen in public since giving a press conference in Russia one week ago, the Mail said.

Putin also claimed that the deposed leader would have been killed had he not been rescued by Russian forces.

Authorities in Kiev have issued a request for extradition under allegations that he ordered his security forces to shoot unarmed protesters last month.

Before his ouster, leaked documents surfaced suggesting he had plans to use thousands of troops to crush the protests that had gripped the country for three months.

Interpol said Friday it was considering a request from Ukraine's new government to issue an arrest warrant for Yanukovych on charges of mass murder and abuse of power.

The international police organization, based in Lyon, France, confirmed a request by Kiev authorities to issue a "Red Notice," also known as an international wanted persons alert, and said in a statement that the request "is being assessed by Interpol's office of legal affairs to determine whether it conforms with the organization's constitution and rules."

Russia, a member of Interpol, insists Yanukovych remains the legal president of Ukraine and agreed to give him refuge.

Interpol stressed that it "cannot compel any member country to arrest the subject of a Red Notice."

AFP contributed to this report.


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