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Ukraine issues arrest warrant for missing leader

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Opposition supporters stands on a barricade at an access street to Independence Square in Kiev, Ukraine, Monday, Feb. 24, 2014. Ukraine’s acting government issued a warrant Monday for the arrest of President Viktor Yanukovych, last reportedly seen in the pro-Russian Black Sea peninsula of Crimea, accusing him of mass crimes against protesters who stood up for months against his rule. (AP Photo/Sergei Chuzavkov)

Opposition supporters stands on a barricade at an access street to Independence Square in Kiev, Ukraine, Monday, Feb. 24, 2014. Ukraine’s acting government issued a warrant Monday for the arrest of President Viktor Yanukovych, last reportedly seen in the pro-Russian Black Sea peninsula of Crimea, accusing him of mass crimes against protesters who stood up for months against his rule. (AP Photo/Sergei Chuzavkov)

Opposition supporters warm themselves around a fire as they guard one of the streets heading to Kiev’s Independence Square, the epicenter of the country’s current unrest, Ukraine, Monday, Feb. 24, 2014. Ukraine’s acting government issued a warrant Monday for the arrest of President Viktor Yanukovych, last reportedly seen in the pro-Russian Black Sea peninsula of Crimea, accusing him of mass crimes against protesters who stood up for months against his rule. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

A sticker depicting Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych is placed on a burned military truck in Kiev, Ukraine, Sunday, Feb. 23, 2014. The Kiev protest camp at the center of the anti-President Viktor Yanukovych movement filled with more and more dedicated demonstrators Sunday morning setting up new tents after a day that saw a stunning reversal of fortune in a political standoff that has left scores dead and worried the United States, Europe and Russia. (AP Photo/ Marko Drobnjakovic)

John Lenczuk, red scarf, holds a sign with pictures of some of those who died at Euromaidan. Lenczuk’s son, Dimitri Lenczuk, mustache, stands to his left holding a similar sign (not shown). Ukrainian-Americans rallied at the Consulate General of Ukraine in New York City on Sunday, Feb. 23, 2014. Ukrainians were there to ask for continuing support from the U.S. as well as to remember the ones who died at Euromaidan and celebrate their victory in ousting Viktor Yanukovych from office over the weekend.(AP Photo/Northjersey.com, Kevin R. Wexler)

People paint on the KGB officers monument in Kiev, Ukraine, Sunday, Feb. 23, 2014. A top Ukrainian opposition figure assumed presidential powers Sunday, plunging Ukraine into new uncertainty after a deadly political standoff and boosting long-jailed Yulia Tymoshenko’s chances at a return to power. The whereabouts and legitimacy of President Viktor Yanukovych are unclear after he left the capital for his support base in eastern Ukraine.(AP Photo/Andrew Lubimov)

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SEVASTOPOL, Ukraine (AP) — Ukraine’s acting government issued an arrest warrant Monday for President Viktor Yanukovych, accusing him of mass crimes against the protesters who stood up for months against his rule. Yanukovych himself has reportedly fled to pro-Russian Black Sea peninsula of Crimea.

Calls are mounting in Ukraine to put Yanukovych on trial, after a tumultuous presidency in which he amassed powers, enriched his allies and family and cracked down on protesters. Anger boiled over last week after government snipers killed scores of protesters in the bloodiest violence in Ukraine’s post-Soviet history.

The turmoil has turned this strategically located country of 46 million inside out over the past few days, raising fears that it could split apart. The parliament speaker is now nominally in charge of a country whose failing economy is on the brink of default and whose loyalties are sharply torn between Europe and longtime ruler Russia.

“The state treasury has been torn apart, the country has been brought to bankruptcy,” Arseniy Yatsenyuk, a protest leader and prominent lawmaker whose name is being floated as a possibility for prime minister, said in parliament Monday.

Ukraine’s acting finance minister said Monday that the country needs $35 billion (25.5 billion euros) to finance government needs this year and next and expressed hope that Europe or the United States would help.

Arsen Avakhov, the acting interior minister, said on his official Facebook page Monday that a warrant has been issued for the arrest of Yanukovych and several other officials for the “mass killing of civilians.”

At least 82 people, primarily protesters, were killed in clashes in Kiev last week.

After signing an agreement Friday with the opposition to end a conflict that had turned deadly, Yanukovych fled the capital of Kiev for eastern Ukraine. Avakhov said he tried to fly out of Donetsk but was stopped, then went to Crimea on Sunday.

Yanukovych freed his official security detail and then drove off to an unknown location, turning off all forms of communication, Avakhov said.

“Yanukovych has disappeared,” he said.

Security has been tightened across Ukraine’s borders, the Interfax news agency quoted the State Border Guard service as saying.

Avakhov published a letter that he said was from Yanukovych, dated Monday, in which he gives up his security guard. Yanukovych’s aides and spokespeople could not be reached Monday to verify the reported letter — they have been rapidly distancing themselves from him as his hold on power disintegrates.

Tensions have been mounting in Crimea in southern Ukraine, where pro-Russian protesters gathered in front of city hall in the port of Sevastopol on Monday chanting “Russia! Russia!”

Russia maintains a large naval base in Sevastopol that has strained relations between the countries for two decades.

“Extremists have seized power in Kiev and we must defend Crimea. Russia must help us with that,” said Anataly Mareta, head of a Cossack militia in Sevastopol.

The head of the city administration in Sevastopol quit Monday, and protesters replaced a Ukrainian flag near the city hall building with a Russian flag.

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s position on the turmoil in Ukraine will be crucial to the future of Crimea and to Ukraine. Putin has not spoken out about the events in Ukraine recently.

Putin did speak with German Chancellor Angela Merkel by telephone Sunday and the German government said the two agreed that

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