By John Ikani
Reports claim that the President of Russia, Vladimir Putin is planning to proclaim Victor Yanukovych as Ukraine’s next President, even as President Volodymyr Zelensky has vowed to keep fighting against Russia.
According to sources in the Ukrainian intelligence, Yanukovych is currently in Minsk, and the Kremlin is perfecting plans to declare him the “President of Ukraine” there.
Yanukovych is a former Ukrainian President who served from 2010 until he was removed from office during a revolution in 2014.
During Yanukovych’s time in office, Ukraine was seen to be subservient to Russia. The CNN once referred to Putin as ‘Ukraine’s Puppet Master’ while Yanukovych was President in 2014.
Yanukovych rejected a pending European Union association agreement the same year and pursued closer ties with Russia, leading to his exit.
After his ouster, Yanukovych fled to Russia and has since been under the Kremlin’s protection. On the day Yanukovych fled, the Ukrainian Parliament voted to remove him from office. Yanukovych, however, claimed that the voting in Parliament was “illegal and possibly coerced”.
He urged the Russian Federation to intervene and Russia termed Yanukovych’s ouster as an illegal coup and did not recognize the Interim Government.
His proximity with the Kremlin has once again brought him on centre stage and speculations are rife that he is the most suitable candidate for Russia, as the latter attempts to redraw the map of Europe and revive Moscow’s Cold War-era influence.
With Yanukovych back in power, Kyiv would lean more towards Moscow than the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) or Western Europe, observers say.