Yanukovich ‘planned blitz on protesters’

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IOL pic feb19 ukraine viktor yanukovich Reuters Viktor Yanukovich. File picture: Reuters

Kiev - Before he was ousted as Ukraine's president, Viktor Yanukovich drew up plans to use thousands of troops to crush the protests that eventually toppled him, according to a leaked document published online.

Ukrainian journalists are going through thousands of papers they say were found near Yanukovich's opulent residence near Kiev after he fled the capital and some documents have already started to surface in the Internet.

Although its authenticity could not be confirmed, parliamentary deputy Hennadi Moskal, a former deputy interior minister, published a document online detailing a plan to surround Independence Square - the cradle of the uprising - with snipers and open fire on the protesters below.

Armoured vehicles and about 22 000 police would have been involved, including about 2 000 Berkut riot police, if it had been fully enacted, the document showed.

Moskal, a member of former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko's Batkivshchyna party, said he had published the document to put pressure on Ukraine's new authorities to bring Yanukovich to justice.

More documents will be published this week, one of the journalists sifting through them told Reuters.

At least 88 people were killed in gun battles last week between police and the anti-Yanukovich protesters who have occupied Independence Square in downtown Kiev for three months. Some were shot dead by snipers.

Yanukovich fled Kiev on Friday night and parliament stripped him of his powers on Saturday. The new authorities have issued an arrest warrant for mass murder and Yanukovich is on the run. - Reuters

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