Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych refuses to quit
Viktor Yanukovych has said he will not resign as president of Ukraine, despite the opposition taking effective control of parliament and the capital Kiev in what he denounced as a "coup". Here are excerpts of what he said in a pre-recorded interview on Ukrainian TV channel ICTV:
"I am completely sure that this is an example that our country and the whole world saw, an example of a coup d'etat.
I have spared no effort to prevent the bloodshed. We adopted two amnesty laws. We took every step needed to stabilise the political situation in the country. But what happened, happened.
I arrived in Kharkiv late last night.
I wanted to take part in today's congress of the councillors of all levels, public activists, but it turned out that I could not go and waste time because I had to be in touch all the time.
I received signals this whole time about people being chased. I am trying to defend the people who are being chased by bandits, chased in their homes, offices, on the roads.
I am sparing no effort to prevent further bloodshed among the people close to me.
I am being intimidated all the time with ultimatums.
I have no intention to leave the country and go anywhere. I am not going to resign.
I am a lawfully elected president.
I have been given guarantees by all international mediators that I have worked with that they guarantee my safety. I will see how they will perform this role.
What is happening now is to a great extent is vandalism, banditry and a coup d'etat.
This is my assessment. I am deeply convinced that this is what this is.
What will I do next?
I will spare no effort to protect my country from disintegration. I will spare no effort to stop the bloodshed. I do not yet know how I will do that.
I held many meetings with the people today, asked for their advice. I will travel around the south-eastern part of the country which is so far a less dangerous and a more secure region.
I will continue travelling, meeting people. First, I want to find an answer to what we will do next in our country, what path we will follow and, of course, the panic which affected the normal people,
I would say, both in the west and in the east and in the centre, I have seen what is happening in Kiev. My car was being shot at.
But I have no fear. I am overwhelmed by grief about our country. I feel responsibility. What we will do next, I will speak about this publicly every day.
I am staying in Ukraine. I will call all international observers, all mediators who took part in this political conflict so that they stop the bandits.
This is not the opposition, these are bandits.
What is happening in parliament and outside parliament? The MPs are being beaten, pelted with stones and intimidated.
The decisions which they are adopting now are unlawful. They should hear this from me. I will not sign anything with bandits who are terrorising the whole country and the Ukrainian people today and disgracing Ukraine.
[Parliament speaker Volodymyr Rybak] was beaten yesterday. He came to me. His car was fired at on the way. He came to me and asked me to take him with me. I took him and sent him to Donetsk by car... for treatment.
They are employing different means. Yesterday, Party of Regions MPs left the parliament building and they were pelted with stones.
There are people who cannot keep holding on and fear for their families.
The party has survived many times like this.
We see the repeat of the Nazi events, when in the 1930s in Germany and Austria the Nazis came to power.
This is a repeat of that. They banned parties. The same is happening now. They are banning the Communist Party of Ukraine, the Party of Regions, putting labels on it, chasing, beating people, burning houses, offices. Over 200 offices of the Party of Regions have been burned in Ukraine."