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Ukraine's ousted president wanted for mass murder

Monday, 24 Feb 2014 | 11:06 AM ET
Ukraine's financial crisis
Monday, 24 Feb 2014 | 9:16 AM ET
In the wake of last week's protest, CNBC's Michelle Caruso-Cabrera reports the Ukraine is unable to borrow money and needs a bailout now.

A warrant for the arrest of Ukraine's Viktor Yanukovych, who was ousted as president on Saturday, has been issued, according to the acting interior minister.

(Read more: Watch out: This president may be deposed next)

Arsen Avakov, one of the opposition lawmakers that took control of Ukraine over the weekend, confirmed on his Facebook page that Yanukovych and several others were wanted by authorities for the "mass murder of civilians" and a criminal case had been opened.

Ukrainian MPs voted to oust Moscow-backed President Viktor Yanukovych and hold early presidential elections on 25 May. The removal of Yanukovych comes after months of protests sparked by his rejection of closer ties with the European Union (EU). The unrest escalated last week after security forces attempted to clamp down on protests. Dozens died in the resulting clashes and after a peace deal with EU foreign ministers was signed Friday, Oeksander Turchinov took on the role of acting president over the weekend.

Russia said on Monday that the peace deal was being used by opposition forces to make a power grab and interim authorities were employing "terrorist methods" to suppress dissenters in Russian-speaking regions.

"A course has been set to use dictatorial and sometime terrorist methods to suppress dissenters in various regions," the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on its website.

(Read More: Volatile Ukraine may now face default risk)

On his Facebook page, Avakov detailed Yanukovych's movements after leaving the capital Kiev on Friday. He said that Yanukovych flew by helicopter to the second-largest city Kharkiv, located in the north-east of the country, before moving to Donetsk Airport on Saturday. In Donetsk he was prevented from flying by border services and then left for Crimea - a peninsula of Ukraine located on the northern coast of the Black Sea that is a Russian stronghold within the country.

On Sunday, he stayed at a nursing home on the Crimean peninsula, Avakov added, before moving on to a private residence near Balaclava. From there he left by car for an unknown destination, accompanied by his former presidential chief of staff, Andriy Klyuyev, after relieving his security staff of their duties.

Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych looks on before signing an agreement in Kiev on February 21, 2014
Sergei Supinsky | AFP | Getty Images
Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych looks on before signing an agreement in Kiev on February 21, 2014

"I would think that it is now only a matter of time before Yanukovych is detained," Timothy Ash, the head of emerging market research at Standard Bank said in a research note. "The concern still is that outside interests will look to stir matters up in Crimea as a means to destabilize the new regime in Kiev."

(Read more: Russia: We will support Ukraine's return to normality)

Heavily-indebted Ukraine has been caught in a geopolitical and ideological battle between Russia and the West. Protests began in November when the Ukrainian government opted for President Vladimir Putin's offer of $15 billion of aid, of which only $3 billion has been given so far.

With pro-European policymakers seizing power over the weekend, that aid is in doubt with officials from Western nations encouraging Ukraine to accept a bailout from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Ukraine's Finance Ministry said on Monday that it would need around $35 billion in foreign assistance over the next two years and would need the first installment in the next two weeks.

Later Monday. the government announced that it had appointed a politician, Stepan Kubiv, as chairman of the country's central bank. He replaces Ihor Sorkin, who resigned following the ouster of Yanukovych.

World leaders on Ukraine deal
World leaders including the IMF's Christine Lagarde, weigh into the debate over the Ukraine's future.

"I want to emphasize that the Ministry of Finance is doing its best to ensure financial stability in Ukraine," Yuriy Kolobov, the acting minister of finance said in a statement released on Monday morning.

Analysts from Citi suggest that Ukraine's comparatively small weight in the global economy has a "limited trigger" for the wider emerging market volatility but added that further turmoil could risk contagion.

(Read more: Gold eyes 4th week of gains on Ukraine default fears)

"Ukraine continues to suffer from a weakening current account position and shrinking (foreign exchange) reserves," a team led by Tina Fordham at Citibank said in a note on Monday.

"Assuming that Russia may find it now less appealing to financially back Ukraine, we see a new IMF deal increasing in probability, although the conditionalities that the IMF would impose would make it hard for Ukraine to avoid recession in 2014."

Five-year credit default swaps - how much it costs to insure Ukraine's risk of default over a five-year period - fell on Monday by 161 basis points to a 3-week low.

By CNBC.com's Matt Clinch; Follow him on Twitter @mattclinch81

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