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Ousted Ukraine leader Yanukovych to hold news conference in Russia

Published on Feb 28, 2014 12:39 PM

SIMFEROPOL, Ukraine (AFP) - Ukraine's ousted pro-Moscow president is set to hold a press conference on Friday after emerging defiant from hiding, as fears grow of a regional conflict in the volatile Crimean peninsula.

Anxious Western governments voiced fears about the "dangerous" situation in Crimea, after dozens of pro-Kremlin gunmen in combat fatigues on Thursday seized government buildings in the autonomous republic, and pleaded with Moscow not to escalate tensions.

News agencies in Moscow said fugitive president Viktor Yanukovych would hold a press conference in Russia on Friday in his first public appearance since fleeing Ukraine at the weekend.

Russian President Vladimir Putin had stoked concerns on Wednesday that Moscow might use its military might to sway the outcome of Ukraine's three-month standoff by ordering snap combat readiness drills near the border with the ex-Soviet state.

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