By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent BosNewsLife
KYIV, UKRAINE (BosNewsLife)– Ukraine’s parliament has elected Oleksander Turchinov as the country’s interim president.
Sunday’s move came after legislators voted to oust President Viktor Yanukovich following clashes between anti-government protesters and security forces in which at least 82 people died.
Turchinov, who headed Ukraine’s state security service, is a close ally of former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko who was freed from prison on Saturday.
His appointment was followed by an overwhelming vote to nationalize the extensive private Kyiv residence of Viktor Yanukovych who has refused to resign as president.
In televised remarks he called the move “coup d’état” by “a group of gangsters.” He said he refuses to resign calling himself “the legitimately elected president.”
Yanukovich added that, “Ukraine is witnessing the return of the Nazis, the time when in the 1930s the Nazis came to power in Germany and Austria. It is the same now.”
Leaders of mainly Russian-speaking regions of eastern Ukraine gathered in Kharkiv to challenge the legitimacy of the national parliament.
They also made clear they would take control of their territories in a move that appeared to increase the possibility of a split in the former Soviet republic.
The rapid political changes came at a price.
On Sunday priests were praying with demonstrators as coffins were displayed in front of the crowd on Kyiv’s Independence Square.
“There are to many deaths. They have given their young lives for Ukraine,” a male demonstrator said.
Another woman agreed, fearing more bloodshed.”We should not destroy the barricades until we replace all authorities, we shouldn’t bring them down under any circumstances. The beast is wounded but we don’t know what this wounded beast will be doing,” she warned.
People gathered in front of makeshift shrines mourning dozens of often young protesters who were shot dead in two days of gun battles last week.
Earlier a clearly emotional Tymoshenko told some 50,000 people in that those who died for Ukraine’s freedom will always be remembered.
“Heroes don’t die, they’re always with us and they always will be our inspiration,” she says, speaking from wheelchair she needs due to a back injury.
The crowd agreed shouting “heroes don’t die”.
(BosNewsLife, the first truly independent news agency covering persecuted Christians, is ‘Breaking the News for Compassionate Professionals’ since 2004).
Please help BosNewsLife to be the voice of the voiceless. Click here for a subscription.
Follow BosNewsLife via Twitter