Yanukovych emerges as Ukraine leaders warn Russia over Crimea
SIMFEROPOL (AFP) - Ukraine's ousted pro-Moscow president Viktor Yanukovych emerged defiant Thursday from five days in hiding as the country's new leaders issued a blunt warning to Russia against any aggression on the volatile Crimean peninsula.
Anxious Western governments voiced fears about the "dangerous" situation in Crimea after dozens of pro-Kremlin gunmen in combat fatigues seized government buildings in the autonomous republic and pleaded with Moscow not to escalate tensions.
Mr Yanukovych is to hold a press conference in Russia on Friday in his first public appearance since fleeing Ukraine at the weekend, Russian news agencies reported.
Russian President Vladimir Putin had stoked concerns 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.